People believe they can not avoid dementia – research


Only one in three adults in the UK believes that it is possible to reduce the risk of developing dementia, the research suggests.

The research, for Alzheimer Research UK, found a lack of awareness about lifestyle factors that may increase the risk of the disease and measures that can be taken to reduce that risk.

Almost half (48%) of the people interviewed did not know a single risk factor for dementia.

These risk factors are excessive alcohol consumption, genetics, smoking, high blood pressure, depression and diabetes, while it is known that exercise helps protect against the disease.

The Dementia Attitudes Monitor interviewed 2,361 people and was conducted by Ipsos MORI for Alzheimer's Research UK.

It was found that only 1% of UK adults were able to name all seven known risk or protective factors for dementia.

This is despite the fact that experts believe that one-third of all cases of dementia are influenced by factors that are under people's control, such as leading a healthy lifestyle.

In the survey, half (49%) of people said they did not know that dementia was a cause of death, while 22% incorrectly said that it was an unavoidable part of their age.

Most (73%) said they would like to receive information in middle age about their personal risk of developing dementia later in life if their doctors could.

About 85% would also be willing to take a test administered by their doctor to say if they were in the early stages of dementia, even before the symptoms appeared.

Meanwhile, two out of five people (42%) rated dementia as the health condition they most feared.

More than 850,000 people in the UK are currently living with dementia and this number is expected to increase to over 1 million by 2025.

Dementia is a generic term for a set of symptoms that affect cognitive function such as memory loss, confusion, and personality changes.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for about two-thirds of all cases.

Hilary Evans, executive director of Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "Dementia is the biggest killer in the UK, but only half of people recognize that this causes death, and almost half of UK adults are unable to name one of the seven risk factors for dementia, including smoking. , high blood pressure and heavy drinking.

"Many of these longstanding misconceptions influence attitudes toward research with the Dementia Attitude Monitor showing that those who believe that dementia is an inevitable part of aging are also less likely to value a formal diagnosis or to engage in developmental research that may bring about a change of life. prevention and treatment.

"Advancing public understanding has the potential to empower more people to take action to maintain their own brain health, to seek a diagnosis, and to support research that has the power to transform lives."

Caregiver Caroline Dinenage said: "Prevention is becoming an increasingly vital tool in the fight against dementia – one of the greatest health challenges of our time, and the biggest killer in the UK.

"This research supports our Dementia 2020 Challenge, highlighting the need to raise public awareness of the condition and how healthy lifestyle choices can reduce the personal risk of developing it.

"We have already made significant progress on this with advice on how to reduce the risk of dementia included in all health checks for those over 40.

"By publicizing prevention, we can help fulfill the government's ambition to make England the world leader in dementia care, research and awareness."


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