A new study out of London says that lifestyle factors can play a big role in your risk of developing dementia. It reports that 1 in 3 cases of dementia could be prevented if more people looked after their brain health throughout life.
The study outlines 9 ‘potentially modifiable’ risk factors that we can address to prevent the brain changes that begin to develop years before a dementia diagnosis is made.
Here they are:
- Mid-life (untreated) hearing loss – responsible for 9% of the risk
- Failing to complete secondary education – 8%
- Smoking – 5%
- Failing to seek early treatment for depression – 4%
- Physical inactivity – 3%
- Social isolation – 2%
- High blood pressure – 2%
- Obesity – 1%
- Type 2 diabetes – 1%
These risk factors add up to 35% of your risk of dementia; the other 65% is believed to be potentially non-modifiable.
I think it’s worth noting that smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity/lack of exercise are believed to contribute to hearing damage – and that depression and social isolation are common ‘side effects’ of untreated hearing loss.