One in 14 people over the age of 65 in the UK will develop dementia and while there is no cure, scientific evidence shows there are several ways you can guard against it
David CoxMon 3 Sep 2018 08.00 BST
Watch your weight
Among the biggest risk factors for dementia are diabetes and mid-life obesity, which can double your chances of dementia at a later age. Links have also been found between elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and the risk of dementia, although these are not conclusive. Monitoring your weight and cardiovascular health in middle age could greatly reduce your likelihood of dementia.
The brain may be affected by the long-term consequences of heavy smoking. Scientists have found smoking to increase the risk of cognitive decline in old age, with one study showing that middle-aged people who smoked more than two packs a day more than doubled their risk of later-life dementia.
Numerous studies have shown that regular, vigorous physical activity – and in some cases, even mild exercise such as walking – can preserve your faculties in later life. Staying active is particularly important for the elderly, with studies finding that older individuals who began a regular exercise programme experienced improved cognitive function. However, younger people should avoid sports where they are prone to repeated head traumas, such as boxing or even football. There is growing evidence that even moderate traumas increase the risk of developing certain forms of dementia.