New WHO guidelines to reduce the risk of dementia
The number of people with dementia is expected to triple in the next 30 years, warns the Director General of the World Health Organization WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. In a new guideline, the WHO wants to provide measures that everyone can use to reduce their risk of dementia or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
People can reduce their risk of dementia by exercising regularly, not smoking, avoiding harmful alcohol consumption, controlling their weight, eating healthily, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The WHO gives these recommendations in the new guideline "Risk reduction of cognitive decline and dementia".
Everything that is good for the heart is also good for our brain
"We have to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia," said the WHO Director-General in a press release on the new guideline. The recommendations in the guideline are based on collected scientific knowledge and confirm that what is good for our heart is also good for our brain, says Dr. Ghebreyesus.
More information about dementia is needed
The guidelines were drawn up in a two-year evaluation by an expert panel. Among the experts was Dr. Ronald Petersen, director of the Mayo Clinic's Alzheimer's Research Center. “The guidelines are designed to help educate health professionals and the general public about measures that can reduce the likelihood of cognitive impairment,” Petersen said in a Mayo Clinic release.
What you can do yourself against dementia and Alzheimer's
"There are a few things we can do that may not prevent Alzheimer's disease but can delay its onset and slow its progression," emphasizes Dr. Petersen. One of the most effective recommendations is regular physical activity. Numerous studies have shown that physical training is associated with delayed onset of dementia. Dr. Petersen recommends exercising for 150 minutes every week, for example three times 50 minutes or five times 30 minutes. Suitable sports include fast walking (Nordic walking), swimming, jogging or aerobics.
Lose weight against dementia
According to Dr. Petersen also plays an important role in nutrition. Obesity and a lack of exercise often go hand in hand, causing numerous complications that also promote dementia. "Most experts now recommend the Mediterranean diet," reports the clinic director. This diet is one of the healthiest in the world and strengthens the heart and brain. In general, any food that is heart-healthy can be recommended. This is not only a good idea for general health, but also good for the brain, according to Petersen.
The brain wants to be used
"Observational studies have shown that people who remain more intellectually active have a lower risk of developing cognitive impairment," says the Alzheimer expert. The WHO recommends that people remain intellectually active into old age and that they should always look for new challenges.
Avoid tobacco consumption and keep alcohol consumption low
"In general, we recommend people that they shouldn't start drinking, and if they're already drinking alcohol, they should be a little more humble," summarizes Dr. A little alcohol is probably okay, but you shouldn't let it get out of hand. It looks different with tobacco consumption. The WHO strongly advises against tobacco use in order to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Support can be found in the article: Quit Smoking. (vb)