Dementia is a general term for describing declines in mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily activities. The most frequent form of dementia manifests as memory loss, commonly known as Alzheimer’s.
Scientists from the University of Exeter published a new study and it was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2019, which took place in Los Angeles.
Who is at risk?
Pretty much everybody has a slight risk of developing dementia, but people with high genetic risk and an unhealthy lifestyle are almost three times more likely to develop dementia, as opposed to those who have a low genetic risk and live healthy lifestyles.
What they learned
The study analyzed over 190.000 adults of European ancestry, older than 60. Out of those people, approximately 1.700 of them suffer from dementia.
Many people believe that dementia is purely a genetic issue. However, this research proves that it might be a misconception.
Stay healthy! Here’s what you should avoid:
After the study’s end, those who took part in it were questioned about their lifestyles: It turns out that people who live unhealthy tend to develop dementia: their diets consist of food that has lots of salt or sugar, they don’t work out regularly and they smoke. Surprisingly, moderate alcohol consumption is totally okay.
Artificial sweeteners seem to be another big factor, as it turns out that drinking one or more artificially sweetened beverages every day increases your risk of developing strokes or dementia by 3 times, says a 2017 study.
Also be careful with the medicine you take (if any): Anticholinergic drugs are prescribed to treat a variety of conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bladder problems, gastrointestinal disorders and Parkinson’s symptoms. However, it turns out that this kind of drugs are linked to dementia, as people who use anticholinergics tend to be twice as likely to develop dementia when compared to regular, healthy people.
The unforgiving truth
The striking conclusion of this study points to the fact that, while genetics play a part in the risk of developing dementia, it really depends on your lifestyle. Better put that bag of chips back on the shelf!