The vast majority of people aren’t doing enough to prevent dementia in later life, according to new research.
Alzheimer’s Research UK has put together a new 12-step checklist in light of this, outlining what people can do to avoid contracting the condition.
Dementia is a feared consequence of aging and the number of people around the world expected to suffer from it is expected to increase.
Around 55 million people have dementia, and more than 60% live in low- and middle-income countries.
As the proportion of older people in the population is increasing in almost all countries, this number is expected to rise to 78 million by 2030 and then to 139 million by 2050, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
But this new 12-step checklist is aimed at raising awareness, before it’s too late.
First, he recommended that people get at least seven hours of sleep a night.
Seven hours of sleep, no more and no less, has often been cited as the optimal amount of sleep for most adults, providing the greatest benefit for cognitive and mental health.
The second step was to regularly challenge the brain; this could involve anything from frequently doing puzzles or playing crossword puzzles to learning a new language.
The third was to stay socially active, while the fourth step was to maintain mental well-being.
The fifth and sixth steps recommended that people take care of their hearing and eat a balanced diet.
Next up was staying physically active while quitting smoking was also compared with reducing the likelihood of developing dementia later in life.
Step 9 was to drink responsibly and number 10 was to maintain a healthy cholesterol level.
To achieve this, it is recommended to eat oats, barley and other whole grains, beans, eggplant and okra, nuts, vegetable oils, apples, grapes, strawberries and citrus fruits.
The final two steps on the checklist included maintaining healthy blood pressure and managing diabetes.
Although age is the strongest known risk factor for dementia, it is not an inevitable consequence of biological aging.
Nor does it exclusively affect older people: early-onset dementia occurs when symptoms develop before the age of 65 and accounts for 9% of cases worldwide.
There is currently no cure for dementia.
Dementia drugs and disease-modifying therapies exist, but they have limited efficacy and are labeled primarily for Alzheimer’s disease.
However, numerous new treatments are being investigated in various stages of clinical trials.