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World Alzheimer Report 2014 reveals persuasive evidence for dementia risk reduction
17 September 2014 - The World Alzheimer Report 2014 ‘Dementia and Risk Reduction: An analysis of protective and modifiable factors’ calls for dementia to be integrated into both global and national public health programmes alongside other major non communicable diseases (NCDs).
The report reveals that control of diabetes and high blood pressure as well as measures to encourage smoking cessation and to reduce cardiovascular risk, have the potential to reduce the risk of dementia even in late-life. The report found that diabetes can increase the risk of dementia by 50%. Obesity and lack of physical activity are important risk factors for diabetes and hypertension, and should, therefore, also be targeted.
While cardiovascular health is improving in many high income countries, many low and middle income countries show a recent pattern of increasing exposure to cardiovascular risk factors, with rising rates of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Smoking cessation is strongly linked in the report with a reduction in dementia risk. For example, studies of dementia incidence among people aged 65 years and over show that ex-smokers have a similar risk to those who have never smoked, while those who continue to smoke are at much higher risk.
Coinciding with the launch of the report, survey data released by Bupa has shown over two thirds (69%) of people around the world are concerned about getting dementia in later life, but many are unclear about the causes and the actions they can take to potentially reduce their risk.