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Revamp your health and cut your risk of dementia with these 13 top tips



With more of us living for longer, the number of people with dementia in the UK is estimated to rise from 850,000 to more than a million by 2025.  The condition – an umbrella term for ongoing declining brain function – became the leading cause of death in Britain in 2017.  But while more than half of adults know someone with dementia, a recent study by Alzheimer’s Research UK has found virtually the same number can’t name any dementia risks.  It also found a fifth of people incorrectly believe it is part of getting older. But while ageing, like genetics, can be a factor, there are lifestyle changes you CAN make to help.  In fact, a third of cases are thought to be influenced by factors in our control, including the common types – Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.  Dr Tim Shakespeare, from the Alzheimer’s Society, says: “The causes of dementia are complex and a combination of things.  “If we all lived healthier lives, less of us would develop dementia. You can certainly make changes to reduce the chances.”  Here are our tips to help stave off dementia: 1 Heart health  Experts believe what is good for your heart is good for your brain and ensuring adequate blood supply to your grey matter will keep it healthy.   High blood pressure and cholesterol are dementia risk factors so get checked out by a GP. 2 Smoking  Smokers have a 30-50 per cent higher chance of dementia. This is partly because it causes problems with the vascular system and blood flow to the brain. Toxins also increase inflammation. By quitting, you reduce your risk to that of a non-smoker. 3 Brain activity  Evidence shows people with only a basic education have a higher risk of developing dementia. Regularly challenging yourself mentally seems to build up the brain’s ability to cope with disease. So do puzzles, games and read ­challenging books. Brain teaser games help keep the mind active (Image: Getty) Read More Off-duty Kate Middleton spotted pushing Prince Louis around busy public park in his buggy 4 Diet and weight  A Mediterranean-style diet – low in saturated fats, high in fruit, veg and fish oils – is linked with a lower risk of dementia.  Scientists think it is the ­combination of nutrients that protects the brain. This style of eating will also keep your weight at a healthy level, which helps too. 5 Alcohol  Boozing can cause brain damage. Heavy drinkers are more likely to have a reduced volume of the brain’s white matter, causing function issues. There is also a type of dementia tied to vitamin B1 ­levels and booze affects how you store it. Try to drink under 14 units a week, spread out. 6 Exercise  Physical activity is one of the best ways to reduce risk and it is good for your heart, weight and mental wellbeing.  Aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week (brisk walking) or 75minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (jogging).  Build in resistance activities that work muscles twice a week, such as digging in the garden or push-ups. Football and circ

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