The prevention of dementia starts in childhood and continues until the third age. It is never too early or too late in life course for dementia prevention. Education at younger than 45 years affects cognitive reserve. Mid-life and late-life risks may trigger detrimental neuropathological developments.
By the 2017, the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention had modelled nine modifiable risk factors: less education, hypertension, hearing impairment, smoking, obesity, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, and low social contact. This year three more risk factors have been added: excessive alcohol consumption, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and air pollution. Modifying these 12 risk factors might prevent or delay up to 40% of dementias.
Let’s see how we can reduce the risk of dementia with 12 steps
- Maintain systolic BP of 130 mm Hg or less in midlife from around age 40 years
- Primary and secondary childhood education for all
- Encourage use of hearing aids for hearing loss
- Reduce exposure to air pollution and second-hand tobacco smoke.
- Prevent head injury.
- Limit alcohol use,
- Avoid smoking uptake
- Reduce obesity
- Restrict diabetes.
- Sustain midlife, and possibly later life physical activity
- Treat depression
- Maintain social contact
Contributions to prevention require both public health programs and individual interventions. These actions continue throughout life and could improve general health in general.
* Dimitra Sali holds a Clinical Neurology degree from College University of London, a PhD from the University of Thessaly and she is the Curator of the 2nd Neurological Clinic at the Euroclinic in Athens.