A report released earlier this month by Alzheimer’s Australia and the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) suggests that action on preventative health measures could lower the risk of dementia for future generations.
The report entitled ‘Is the incidence of dementia declining?’ brings together the research findings that suggest incidence rates of dementia may be modifiable through lifestyle and environmental factors, such as better education and health care.
Alzheimer’s Australia’s National President, Ita Buttrose, said that the report highlights the importance of changing the way Australians think about dementia.
“The changes in the brain that lead to dementia begin up to 20 years before symptoms first appear. People of all ages can make simple lifestyle changes that may reduce their risk of dementia, such as increasing physical activity and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol. Yet many Australians remain unaware of the connections between dementia and other major chronic diseases. Further work needs to be done to link dementia to the preventative health strategies for smoking and alcohol, and for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”
The report recommends that governments around the world adopt preventive health strategies that embrace both physical and brain health in promoting healthier lifestyles. However, it also cautions that the total numbers of people with dementia will continue to rise, even with changes in age-specific prevalence because of the increasing numbers of older people globally.
The report is part of Alzheimer’s Australia publicly funded risk reduction program, Your Brain Matters, which proposes five steps to help reduce the risk of dementia.