What do we know?

What will increase my risk?

“At the moment the best advice we can give is to try to live a healthy lifestyle”

Our research has shown that people who have less healthy lifestyles may be more likely to develop dementia.

There are some things that influence our risk of developing dementia that we cannot change. For example, as we get older we are at higher risk of developing dementia but we cannot change our age.

On the other hand there are some things that we can change. We know that people who smoke, who drink alcohol to excess, who have a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle and who don’t exercise may be more likely to develop dementia. People who are obese or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol may also be at higher risk. We are also starting to understand that our environment may also play a role and it could be that higher exposure to certain types of air pollution could increase risk.

What can we do

At the moment the best advice we can give is to try to live a healthy lifestyle. Eat a healthy balanced diet, take exercise and maintain a healthy weight. If you smoke then try to stop and follow guidelines on use of alcohol. If you have been prescribed medication, for example, blood pressure lowering medicine, remember to take it as advised by your doctor. It may help to try to keep your brain active also.

What to do if you are concerned

If you are concerned about your memory or other brain and cognitive function please make an appointment to see your doctor.

Further information and useful links

Dementia is an umbrella term and it includes particular types of dementia such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia.

There are several organisations that provide more detailed information relating to risk factors for dementia and links to local resources.

These include:

Alzheimer’s Association
Alzheimer’s Australia