12 Modifiable Risk Factors Linked to 40% of World’s Dementia Cases

A recent report by the Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care linked 12 Risk Factors to 40% of the world’s dementia cases.  Three – excessive alcohol intake (including any history of passing out with ETOH), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and pollution were recently added to the original nine which were depression; not completing secondary education,  hypertension; obesity; hearing loss; smoking; depression; physical inactivity, social isolation; and diabetes.  Interestingly, in a study published in the journal Neurology, treatment with a SSRI antidepressant escitalopram lowered amyloid-beta-42 (AB42) levels in the cerebrospinal fluid, suggesting a potential role for these drugs in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.


Recommendations to help prevent risk for dementia include:
  • Getting treated for depressive illness 
  • Aim to maintain systolic blood pressure of 130mmHg or less in midlife from around age 40 years
  • Encourage use of hearing aids for hearing loss, and reduce hearing loss by protecting ears from high noise levels
  • Reduce exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke
  • Prevent head injury, particularly by targeting high-risk occupations 
  • Prevent alcohol misuse and limit drinking to less than 21 units per week in males and 15 in females
  • Stop smoking and support individual to stop smoking
  • Lead an active life into midlife and possibly later life
  • Reduce obesity and diabetes
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