People can reduce their risk of dementia by regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, according to new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization.
In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple. It is in everyone’s interest to reduce our risk of dementia. The scientific evidence gathered for these Guidelines confirm that what is good for the heart, is also good for the brain.
The Guidelines provide the knowledge base for health-care providers to advise patients on what they can do to help prevent cognitive decline and dementia. They will also be useful for governments, policy-makers and planning authorities to guide them in developing policy and programmes that encourage healthy lifestyles.
WHO’s Global Dementia Observatory, launched in December 2017, is a compilation of information about country activities and resources for dementia, such as national plans, dementia-friendly initiatives, awareness campaigns and facilities for care. An essential element of every national dementia plan is support for carers of people with dementia. These are very often family members who need to make considerable adjustments to their family and professional lives to care for their loved ones. This is why WHO created iSupport, an online training programme currently used by 8 countries. iSupport provides carers of people with dementia with advice on overall management of care, dealing with behaviour changes and how to look after their own health.