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Four rules to prevent dementia and Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer: These measures can reduce the risk of dementia

Almost 50 million people in the world suffer from dementia. The neurodegenerative disease is not yet treatable, but the risk of illness can be greatly reduced by various measures.

Incurable disease

In Germany alone, about 1.2 million people suffer from dementia, most of them from Alzheimer's disease. There are about 47 million dementia patients in the world. The disease is not yet treatable, but can be delayed in the early stages of medication. There is also evidence that some measures such as "brain jogging" can help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Being active in the elderly is one of the most important ways to reduce the risk of dementia. (Photo: Robert Kneschke /

The breakdown of nerve cells progresses slowly

"Dementia usually has a long clinical, unobtrusive phase during which breakdown of nerve cells progresses slowly and generally stops." For Alzheimer's disease, this process takes about 30 years, "explains the German Institute for the Prevention of Dementia at the University of Saarland your website.

"There are various individual measures to reduce the risk of illness. However, it is not yet known how great this protective effect is, "he continues.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has summarized in a new directive the key measures that can help each person reduce their personal risk of dementia or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

Regular physical activity and a healthy diet

People can reduce the risk of dementia by moving regularly, smoking, avoiding harmful drinking, controlling their weight, eating healthy and maintaining good blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

These recommendations are provided by the WHO in the new direction "Reducing the Risk of Cognitive impairment and Dementia".

"We must do our best to reduce the risk of dementia," said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a press release.

The recommendations in the guide are based on accumulated scientific evidence and confirm that what is good for our heart is good for our brains. Ghebreyesus.

More education for dementia is needed

For more than two years of the expert group assessment the guidelines were drawn up.

Among the experts was Dr. Ronald Petersen, director of Alzheimer's Mayo clinic's research center.

"The guidelines are designed to educate health professionals and the general public about measures to reduce the likelihood of cognitive impairment," Petersen said in a communication with the Mayo Clinic.

What can you do against dementia and Alzheimer's disease

"There are a few things we can do that can not prevent Alzheimer's disease, but they can slow down the start and slow down its development" Petersen.

One of the most effective recommendations is regular exercise. Numerous studies have shown that exercise is associated with a delayed onset of dementia.

Dr. Petersen recommends 150 minutes of exercise each week, for example three times 50 minutes or five times 30 minutes. Suitable sports include, for example, fast walking (Nordic walking), swimming, jogging or aerobics.

Weight loss against dementia

According to Dr. Petersen also plays an important role in nutrition. Often, obesity and physical inactivity go hand in hand, leading to many complications that also promote dementia.

"Most experts now recommend the Mediterranean diet," says the clinic's director. This diet is among the healthiest in the world and strengthens the heart and brain.

In general, any diet that is healthy for the heart may be recommended. This is not only a good idea for overall health, it is also good for the brain, says Petersen.

The brain wants to be used

"Observational studies have shown that people who are more intellectually active have a lower risk of cognitive impairment," says Alzheimer's expert.

WHO recommends that people remain intellectually active in old age and continue to look for new challenges.

Avoid smoking and maintain low alcohol consumption

"We usually recommend people not to drink, and if they already drink alcohol, they should be a little more modest," says Dr. Petersen.

A little alcohol is probably good, but you should not leave it too far.

The situation is different for tobacco consumption. The WHO strongly recommends not to use tobacco in order to reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. Support can be found in the article: Stop smoking. (vb, ad)

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