Want to prevent dementia? Improve your everyday health habits

Research we're watching

The World Health Organization has some advice for people who want to reduce their risk of dementia — pay attention to your overall health. Specifically, the organization's new guidelines recommend regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, regulating blood sugar levels, and keeping cholesterol within recommended limits.

Experts also recommend giving up unhealthy habits, including drinking and smoking. In short, strategies that you already know are good for your heart and overall health are also good for your brain. Preventing dementia is a focus because it has become a growing health problem, which affects some 50 million people around the world. The WHO estimates that nearly 10 million people each year develop the condition.

The dementia prevention guidelines are included in the World Health Organization's global action plan for the public health response to dementia. The report also emphasizes the importance of fostering research and innovation to find ways to diagnose dementia earlier and provide more effective ways to treat it.

Image: © milanvirijevic/Getty Images

Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.