New Study: Healthy Lifestyle Is Even More Important for Preventing Dementia Than We Thought

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Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are a growing worldwide health problem, affecting some 50 million people around the globe, and it’s getting worse.

An estimated 10 million people develop the condition annually, and, according to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) the number of people with dementia is expected to triple over the next 30 years.

The good news is that, according to new guidelines for avoiding dementia issued by WHO, there’s something we can do about it.

Staving off dementia, according to WHO, is a matter of living a healthy lifestyle. That means “getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling…weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.”

The number of people dying from dementia-related causes has been on the rise in all risk groups in the United States. The death rate in was 66.7 people per 100,000 people, up from 30.5 dementia deaths per 100,000 people in 2000. This is how many people die annually from dementia in every state.

According to Dr. Ghebreyesus, “The scientific evidence gathered for these Guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain.”

In other words, people should be doing exactly what doctors and other health authorities have been telling them to do anyway. A healthy diet — specifically regular consumption of this one common vegetable — can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia.

WHO’s Global Dementia Observatory compiles information on every aspect of dementia from some 80 countries, and WHO has provided support to Croatia, Qatar, Sri Lanka, and other nations to help them develop a comprehensive public health program for fighting the problem.