One in three cases of dementia could be avoided by changes in lifestyle, according to a study published in the August Issue of Lancet Neurology.
The research, undertaken by a team from Cambridge University, says that one in three cases of the condition could be prevented by a combination of regular exercise, a reduction in smoking and by tackling health problems such as obesity and diabetes.
The study examined seven potentially modifiable risk factors that have consistent evidence of an association with the disease – diabetes, midlife hypertension, midlife obesity, physical inactivity, depression, smoking and low educational attainment.
Many of the factors known to increase the risk of dementia overlap with each other, with obese people less likely to take regular exercise and more likely to suffer from conditions such as diabetes.
Previous research has looked at each of the seven factors independently, but not allowed for the fact that they often overlap.
However, researchers found that exercise offers the most significant protection against the condition.
In the study, those who did not achieve three 20-minute bursts of vigorous exercise per week, such as jogging or football, or five 30-minute sessions of moderate activity, such as walking were 82 percent more likely to go on to develop dementia.
Obesity in mid-life increased the risks of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease by 60 percent, while high blood pressure raised the threat by 61 percent, the analysis found.
Source: Lancet Neurology