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Ways that help reduce risks of getting dementia

Dementia has been a problem in many elderly people and families of those affected in Africa not only that there is no 100% cure for the disease but they do not know what it is. The disease affects more than 50 million people around the world. Dementia is a group of thinking and social function that interferes with daily function. Not a specific disease, dementia is a group of conditions characterised by impairment of at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and judgement.

People may experience:

Cognitive: memory loss, mental decline, confusion in the evening hours, disorientation, inability to speak or understand language, making things up, mental confusion, or inability to recognise common things

Behavioural: irritability, personality changes, restlessness, lack of restraint, or wandering and getting lost

Mood: anxiety, loneliness, mood swings, or nervousness

Psychological: depression, hallucination, or paranoia

Muscular: inability to combine muscle movements or unsteady walking

Also common: falling, jumbled speech, or sleep disorder

The World health Organisation (WHO) has came up with steps to avoid dementia for the first time.

The guidelines recommend:

1) Exercise - adults, including the elderly, should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week. This could include planned exercise, like cycling, or everyday activities such as housework

2) Stop smoking - it is bad for brain and body

3) Eat well - a healthy, Mediterranean-like diet containing plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit is beneficial

4) Don't bother with vitamin pills - there is no evidence that they help lower dementia risk

5) Avoid heavy alcohol use - drinking too much is risky. Some studies have suggested that light consumption might actually be protective against dementia but there is not enough good evidence to support this idea

6) Brain training - some studies suggest that activities to challenge the brain, such as crosswords and bespoke computer games, could be beneficial

7) Be social - although there is no proof that it will stop or slow dementia, staying connected with friends is linked with good health and wellbeing

8) Keep a healthy weight - this goes hand in hand with eating a good diet and getting enough exercise to stay fit and healthy

9) Beware high blood pressure - there is a strong link between dementia and high blood pressure

10) Get treated if you have diabetes - good control of blood sugar is important for lowering the risk of associated complications, including dementia

11) Beware high cholesterol - it is a risk factor, although it is not clear whether cholesterol-lowering medication (statins) will reverse the risk

Dr Carol Routledge, from Alzheimer's Research UK, welcomed the guidelines saying: "While we cannot change the genes we inherit, taking the steps outlined in this report can still help to stack the odds in our favour."

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