The World Alzheimer’s Report 2014 examines what we can do both as individuals and societies to prevent this incurable disease and the sixth-leading cause of death.
“What is good for your heart is good for your brain.”
Research is showing that while our hearts and brains are responsible for the operation of different systems within our body, they are both vulnerable to the same threats.
The report identifies the primary culprits for dementia that we normally associate with heart disease: smoking, hypertension, and diabetes.
As for what to do about it, the summary of the report suggests:
Improved detection and treatment of diabetes and hypertension, and smoking cessation, should be prioritised, including for older adults who are rarely specifically targeted in prevention programs. Increased physical activity and reduction in levels of obesity are also important.
The report also predicts an increase in dementia within countries that are least likely to have high standards of prevention, care, and treatment:
While cardiovascular health is improving in many high income countries, it is deteriorating elsewhere. Many low and particularly middle income countries show a pattern of increasing cardiovascular conditions, hypertension and diabetes. The largest increase in dementia prevalence in the coming decades will be in the low and middle income countries, where the risk factors identified in this report present an increasing problem.