Misconceptions Regarding Dementia Risk Factors
Dementia is a serious issue that mainly affects the elderly, however can affect people younger than the age of 50 in some cases. Dementia is a condition that is heavily studied, though there are still no known cures or no lone causes, instead, dementia is a condition that can develop for a number of reasons.
In the UK there are currently more than 850,000 people living in with dementia with this number expected to rise to more than one million by 2025.
As many of you will already know, dementia is an umbrella term for a set of symptoms that affect cognitive functions like memory loss, change in personality and confusion. Over time, the symptoms slowly deteriorate.
The most common disease associated with the condition is Alzheimer’s as it accounts for two-thirds of all cases. There are several factors that increase the risk of dementia including age, lifestyle and genetics.
In a recent charity survey though, only 1 percent of 2,361 people were found to be able to name the seven known risk factors of the condition which include, smoking, high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, genetics and heavy drinking. One of the best ways to fight the disease though is physical exercise.
Only half of the people in the survey recognised that dementia is a cause of death and found that a fifth falsely believe it is an inevitable part of getting older.
As the BBC reports, even though “a third of cases of dementia are thought to be influenced by factors within our control, only 34% of people surveyed believe it is possible to reduce the risk of dementia, compared with 77% for heart disease and 81% for diabetes.”
The chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, Hilary Evans said that despite the growing awareness there was a still a lot of misconceptions.
“It is a sad truth that more people are affected by dementia than ever before and half of us now know someone with the condition. Yet despite growing dementia awareness, we must work harder to improve understanding of the diseases that cause it.”
There needs to be more done to educate people on the risk factors of the condition. It is unfortunate that many people do believe it is an inevitable fact of ageing, but this is not the case. There are so many contributing factors and of course there is no lone cause of dementia, however by looking after our health at any age, the risk of developing such a condition is greatly reduced.