DEMENTIA impacts almost one million Brits
Dementia affects almost one million of people in the UK
DEMENTIA impacts almost one million Brits. Sadly, there is no sure cure – but there are some things you can do to lower your risk of developing the memory-robbing disease, experts say.
Dr Michael Mosley recommends quitting smoking to reduce your risk of developing the disease
The condition triggers severe mental decline – with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common cause. As people are now living longer, the number of those suffering from dementia is increasing. But Dr Michael Mosley reckons stopping one daily habit could be key in helping to prevent it. Speaking on a parenting forum, the health expert, an advocate of the Fast 800 diet for weight loss, revealed that to be smoking. He said: “There are a number of different forms of dementia, but broadly what is good for your heart is also going to be good for your brain. That means not smoking, eating oily fish and getting plenty of exercise.”
- A large study by The Lancet found that stopping smoking could significantly lower your dementia risk and reduce your symptoms.
- It revealed smokers were 30 per cent more likely to develop dementia and at a 40 per cent higher chance of suffering from Alzheimer’s.
- Doctors have linked common forms of dementia with heart and blood vessel complications caused by smoking.
The Alzheimer’s Society says: “Toxins in cigarette smoke cause inflammation and stress to cells, which have both been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.”
As well as quitting nicotine, Dr Mosley also urged people to be more active as exercise has multiple benefits for your brain – including reduced memory loss. He said: “Not just a brisk walk or cycle, but resistance exercises like press-ups and squats.”
But the expert also urged Brits to take up hobbies that work the mind. “The other really important thing is to keep challenging yourself, mentally,” he said. “Not crosswords and Sudoku, but learning a new language, taking up dancing, or perhaps painting.”
Younger people can also develop dementia
His comments come days after health experts revealed younger people can also develop dementia. Almost 3.9 million people worldwide aged 30 to 64 are suffering with early-onset Alzheimer’s, statistics show. Symptoms can even begin much earlier – as young as 30 in some rare cases, Prof Mark Dallas of neuroscience at the University of Reading, said.
What is dementia and do I have it?
DEMENTIA is a syndrome associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning. There are many different causes and different types, and people often get confused with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia and, together with vascular dementia, makes up the majority of cases.
Dementia symptoms may include problems with:
- Memory loss
- Thinking speed
- Mental sharpness and quickness
- Language, such as using words incorrectly, or trouble speaking
- Movement difficulties
- Doing daily activities
People with the condition may also:
- Lose interest in their usual activities
- Experience problems managing their behaviour or emotions
- Find social situations difficult
- Have personality changes
- Lose empathy
- Have hallucinations and hear voices
- Have difficulty planning and organising
- Struggle with maintaining their independence
Research shows there are more than 944,000 people in the UK who have dementia. Numbers are increasing because people are living longer. Experts have devised tests that could be used to spot dementia nearly a decade before doctors notice symptoms. Cambridge University experts say simple tests could be used to screen people and start treatment earlier. Both tests rely on subtle differences that could easily be missed. It is normal for your memory to be affected by stress, tiredness, certain illnesses and medicines, but if you’re becoming increasingly forgetful, particularly if you are over the age of 65, it’s a good idea to talk to a GP.