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Can Alzheimer's be prevented with lifestyle changes?

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
One-third of Alzheimer's cases preventable finds new study

A new study shows approximately 33 percent of Alzheimer's cases could be prevented with specific lifestyle changes that lower the chances of the disease.

Alzheimer's disease is a growing concern, especially given our aging population. Statistics have shown the disease is expected to affect more than 106.2 million people worldwide by the year 2050.

Top seven risks for Alzheimer's that you can change

According to the finding from University of Cambridge, England researchers, there are seven top risk factors for Alzheimer's disease that you can change to help prevent the disease.

  1. Lack of exercise
  2. Diabetes
  3. Mid-life hypertension
  4. Middle-age obesity
  5. Depression
  6. Smoking
  7. Lack of education

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Modifying the above dementia risks by as little as ten percent would mean 9 million fewer cases of Alzheimer's disease by 2050 the researchers estimated.

"Although there is no single way to prevent dementia, we may be able to take steps to reduce our risk of developing dementia at older ages. We know what many of these factors are, and that they are often linked," said Carol Brayne, MD, from the Institute of Public Health at the University of Cambridge who was a researcher for the study.

Brayne said exercise alone lowers the chances of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes that in turn could prevent dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

The finding is published in the journal Lancet Neurology.

The study authors explained worldwide lack of education is the biggest risk for the disease while in the US it is inactivity.

Other known ways to help prevent Alzheimer's include consuming a Mediterranean diet and controlling cholesterol. Recent research suggests early intervention for cutting your Alzheimer's risk is possible with a test that measure phospholipids in the bloodstream. The new study suggests one-third of Alzheimer's disease cases could be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle. .