Stave off dementia with a healthy lifestyle, advises WHO

Stave off dementia with a healthy lifestyle, advises WHO

Stave off dementia with a healthy lifestyle, advises WHO

"In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple", said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement.

Carol Routledge, director of Research at Alzheimer's Research UK, said dementia was the leading cause of death in Britain, but only 34% of adults realised they could reduce the risk, and the World Health Organization report helped to clarify what was known and where evidence was lacking.

The organisation estimated that the cost of caring for people with dementia would rise to two trillion dollars annually by 2030, if adequate measures were not taken by countries to address the problem.

New guidelines have been issued to improve lifestyle choices linked to the condition by the organisation, which said that age is the strongest risk factor for dementia but the disease is not an inevitable outcome of growing older. However, there was not always strong evidence that dementia risk would be reduced with these steps.

It also affects thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language and judgement and results from a variety of diseases and injuries that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer's or stroke.

The agency said its new recommendations could provide the key to delaying or slowing cognitive decline or dementia. They also serve as a knowledge base for governments, planning authorities and policymakers to develop programs and policies that will help encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

WHO hopes the guidelines will help health professionals better advise patients on what they can do to help prevent cognitive decline and dementia.

The guidelines say that healthy eating plans such as following a Mediterranean diet may help to reduce the risk for dementia, but that people can not expect supplements such as vitamin pills or fish oil to help.

"People should be looking for these nutrients through food. not through supplements", Carrillo agreed.

According to the guidelines, people can reduce their risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking and avoiding harmful use of alcohol.

The largest increase in cases over the next three decades will be seen in low- and middle-income countries where overall population growth is the highest, World Health Organization said, warning that many healthcare systems will face significant challenges.

The WHO strongly recommends that countries manage the growing health challenge of dementia by creating national policies and plans, an essential element of which is support for carers of people with dementia. Social activity is also important to maintain overall well being and the report states: "Social disengagement conversely, has been shown to place older individuals at increased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia".

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