September was World Alzheimer’s Month and a report released to mark the event points out that some of the ‘modern’ diseases which plague today’s population, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, could be linked to an increased risk of dementia in later life.
A person with diabetes, for example, has a 50% higher risk of developing dementia, according to the report. Studies in the elderly have also shown a link between smoking and dementia. While risk is similar between ex-smokers and people who have never smoked, those who continue to smoke are at much higher risk of dementia.
It is important, says the report, to ‘preserve brain health during mid-life’ as people who enter old age with well-developed, healthy brains have a reduced chance of developing dementia. The changes in the brain responsible for dementia can begin decades before symptoms appear, so, like saving into your pension fund, it is never too soon to start looking after your health. A visit to the pharmacy for advice would be a good start.