herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Physical activity 'can prevent dementia'

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

More than 1,000 cases of dementia could be prevented if patients were more physically active, did not smoke and were better educated, a new report has suggested.

Commissioned by the Alz- heimer Society of Ireland (ASI), it revealed seven key risk factors associated with the illness, including depression, mid-life obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

The research found that had the level of low education been reduced by 10pc over the lifetime of a population, it could have prevented more than 700 dementia cases.

"There is a strong link between staying in education and a reduced risk of dementia in later life, which could be addressed by minimising early school leaving," said Tina Leonard of the ASI.

lifetime

"By continuously keeping the brain active, you're building up a cognitive reserve. This can't be done over a year or a short period of time, this needs to go on throughout a lifetime."

The study also indicated that a 10pc reduction in smoking levels would have cut the number of cases by 594, while a similar increase in physical activity would have prevented 615 cases.

There are 48,000 people in Ireland suffering from dementia - and this is expected to increase by almost 100,000 in the next 25 years.

Around 4,000 new cases are predicted for next year, which will see 11 people develop dementia every day.

The ASI wants the Government to start including dementia in its tobacco-free policy.

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