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Reducing dementia in middle age people

Reducing dementia in middle age people

A call for action to help middle aged people reduce the risk of developing dementia has been launched by Public Health England (PHE)
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A call for action to help middle aged people reduce the risk of developing dementia has been launched by Public Health England (PHE).

The Health Matters midlife approaches to reduce dementia risk policy include ways clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) can use data to promote dementia risk reduction as well as practical lifestyle tips to help people cut their own risks.

The Alzheimer’s Society estimates the annual cost of dementia in UK is £26.3 billion, including £4.3 billion on health care and a £5.8 billion individual social care bill. It affects 850,000 people in the UK,  and 62% of  patients are women.

PHE said the dementia profile launched by its Dementia Intelligence Network can help CCGs and local authorities compare other areas.

It said CCGs should use the date to look at local risk factors including smoking, physical inactivity, excess weight and alcohol-based hospital admissions to help them prioritise their campaigns to cut risk factors.

The dementia profile will also show them the uptake of NHS Health Checks.

PHE is piloting a scheme to expand its dementia awareness as part of health checks for 40 to 65-year-olds.

It said health and social care providers and public and third sector providers like local authorities and leisure services should all use routine appointments and contacts to identify those at risk of dementia.

They should also promote healthy lifestyles at times when people face major changes in their lives such as retirement and give people advice on reducing their dementia risks.

PHE said smoking is one of the biggest lifestyle risk factors.  Nearly a quarter of Alzheimer’s cases were attributable to a lack of regular exercise said PHE.

Excessive alcohol consumption and an unhealthy diet can all also increase dementia risk.

The report also recommends keeping the brain active and challenged and reducing loneliness to help cut people’s dementia risks.

PHE’s chief executive Duncan Selbie said: “Dementia is a critical public health concern. In the absence of a treatment or cure, it is important that we take action to reduce the number of people getting dementia.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK’s head of policy Dr Matthew Norton said although age is still the biggest risk factor only a quarter of the British public think it is possible to cut dementia risk.

He said: “Research has shown that dementia is caused by a complex mix of genetic and lifestyle factors but by maintain a balanced diet, exercising regularly, not smoking or drinking to excess, keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check the risk of dementia can be lowered in some cases.”

The report can be seen here.

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