Prevent Alzheimer’s: it depends on these five factors

  1. Eat a diet rich in whole grains and vegetables and low in fried foods and red meat.
  2. mentally demanding activities in old age
  3. at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week
  4. Do not smoke
  5. low to moderate alcohol consumption

The endpoint number (0 to 5) was examined for correlations with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The higher the value, the healthier the lifestyle of a study participant.

Longer life expectancy and higher mental fitness

The results clearly showed that a lifestyle of unhealthy diet, lack of mental and physical activity, tobacco and alcohol consumption increases the probability of developing Alzheimer’s and having a shorter life expectancy.

For 65-year-old women who implemented four or all five of the above measures, the average life expectancy was 24.2 years. On the other hand, women of the same age who did not implement any or only one of the health promotion measures lived an average of 3.1 years less. During this shorter life, they suffered from dementia for an average of 4.1 years. In contrast, healthy living participants had a dementia phase of only 2.6 years,

For men, the difference was even more striking: healthy 65-year-olds had a life expectancy of 23.1 years, 5.7 years longer than people with an unhealthy lifestyle. They suffered from dementia for an average of 1.4 years of their remaining life (23.1 years), the unhealthy for 2.1 years of their remaining life of 17.4 years.

Intellectual exchange and social contacts are also important

“The results impressively show that Alzheimer’s dementia can be actively prevented through a healthy lifestyle and gain in life, especially in a ‘dementia-free’ life,” says Professor Hans Christoph Diener, spokesman for the German Society of Neurology (DGN). The study also shows that the more of the five healthy lifestyle factors that are implemented, the greater the effect.

The Secretary General of the DGN, Professor Peter Berlit, adds another aspect. “It is known, and there are also numerous studies on the matter, that high blood pressure can promote the development of dementia. If you look at the five lifestyle factors examined, you can see that four of the five are also preventive measures against pressure high blood pressure.” The expert refers to a healthy diet, low in salt and low in fat, sufficient physical exercise, little alcohol and not smoking.

Both Diener and Berlit emphasize the importance of mental training and social interaction. If this were missing, the risk of dementia in those over 65 would increase significantly. Both doctors refer to a study from 2020. Therefore, it is extremely important to maintain social contacts, especially at the age when many people retire.

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