A US study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry found that under-55s who smoke increase their risk five times, and having diabetes will triple it. Over 11,000 people aged 46-70 were monitored over a period of 12-14 years. Of the 203 participants that developed dementia, lifestyle factors were identified as strong links.
Conversely, however, the study did show that keeping the mind active and sharp, by doing crosswords or playing cards can help delay the onset of dementia.
Neil Hunt of the Alzheimer’s Society said: “Dementia is one of people’s biggest fears in later life but very few people realise that there are things they can do to reduce their risk of developing this devastating condition.
“This study adds weight to the growing evidence that a healthy heart means a healthy brain.”
Currently in the UK over 700,000 people suffer from dementia, with this figure predicted to rise to 1 million by 2025.