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Tuesday, 08 March 2016

Only quarter aware healthy lifestyle can help reduce risk of dementia

Written by The Press Association

Three-quarters of people are unaware that they can help reduce their risk of dementia, figures suggest.

The survey, commissioned by the charity Alzheimer's Research UK, found that only 25% of British adults were aware that it is possible for people to reduce their risk of dementia through leading a healthy lifestyle.

The charity said lifestyle changes that may lower the risk of dementia include eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, not drinking to excess, not smoking, and keeping blood pressure, weight and cholesterol under control.

Two in four of those polled said they would be more likely to adopt a healthy lifestyle after they were informed it could help reduce their risk, according to the survey released to mark Alzheimer's Research UK Conference in Manchester.

"Although we don't yet have sure-fire preventions for dementia, there are measures people can take now that could lower their risk of the condition," said Alzheimer's Research UK chief executive Hilary Evans.

"Increasingly, research is showing that what's good for your heart is also good for your head, and with the number of people with dementia on the increase it's vital that this message reaches the public. In the meantime, research into better prevention strategies will be crucial for scaling up the fight against dementia, along with a focus on new treatments for those cases where dementia cannot be prevented."

Commenting on the figures, Professor Alistair Burns - national clinical director for dementia at NHS England, said: "These figures show that public understanding of dementia risk factors is low, and we must work to change that if we are to help reduce the number of people developing the condition.

"Encouragingly, these figures suggest that when given the right information, many people are motivated to make lifestyle choices to help lower their dementia risk - but currently too few people recognise that they may be able to make an impact. We must arm people with the knowledge they need to make informed choices about their lifestyle."

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, added: "Developing dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing. Making better choices today can have a huge influence on our health and can reduce our risk of living with dementia later down the line."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2016, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Steve Parsons / PA Wire.