Friday, July 28, 2017

A healthy lifestyle can reduce risk of dementia

Lifestyle has a major role to play in the health and well-being of a person. It’s not just physical health that benefits from a healthy lifestyle, but also mental health.

Dementia is usually regarded as a part of the normal aging process. But it is not always so. Dementia is also associated with lifestyle factors. And, the risk of dementia can be reduced by simple but effective lifestyle modifications. This is the key message from a new report of The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care, presented at the recently concluded Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) 2017 on July 20, 2017 and also published in The Lancet.

The report has identified nine lifestyle factors (as below) during the course of life - early, middle and later – that influence the risk of dementia. Many of these factors can co-occur. 

The Report has for the first time considered social isolation and hearing as being pertinent to dementia. The level of education was also found to be an important risk factor. Poor education has been correlated with poor cognition.

1.    Early life level of education
2.    Midlife hypertension
3.    Midlife obesity
4.    Midlife hearing loss
5.    Later life smoking
6.    Later life physical inactivity
7.    Later life social isolation
8.    Later life depression
9.    Later life diabetes

Prevention is always better than cure. These factors are potentially modifiable and addressing them timely can prevent dementia in a large number of people.

In addition to well-controlled hypertension and diabetes, early treatment of depression, weight loss, smoking cessation, being socially active, increasing physical activity, it is also important to engage in mentally stimulating and challenging exercises to keep the brain active. Develop a hobby, solve crossword puzzles, play chess or such challenging games to stay mentally active.

A healthy lifestyle adopted early in life builds up cognitive reserve for later life. It is important that we also advise our patients to start making positive lifestyle changes for a healthy old age.

(Source: Medscape)

Dr KK Aggarwal
National President IMA & HCFI

Recipient of Padma Shri, Dr BC Roy National Award, Vishwa Hindi Samman, National Science Communication Award & FICCI Health Care Personality of the Year Award
Vice President Confederation of Medical Associations of Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Past Honorary Secretary General IMA
Past Senior National Vice President IMA  
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Gold Medalist Nagpur University
Limca Book of Record Holder in CPR 10
Honorary Professor of Bioethics SRM Medical College Hospital & Research Centre  
Sr. Consultant Medicine & Cardiology, Dean Board of Medical Education, Moolchand
Editor in Chief IJCP Group of Publications & eMedinewS
Member Ethics Committee Medical Council of India (2013-14)  
Chairman Ethics Committee Delhi Medical Council (2009-15)
Elected Member Delhi Medical Council (2004-2009)
Chairman IMSA Delhi Chapter (March 10- March 13)

Director IMA AKN Sinha Institute (08-09)
Finance Secretary IMA (07-08)
Chairman IMAAMS (06-07)
President Delhi Medical Association (05-06)

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