What Dementia Risk Factors are Modifiable?

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Some risk factors for dementia can be prevented.

Genetics play a role in health.

After all, it is rather hard to fool the old gene pool.

You likely know people who live active and health-conscious lifestyles who are still diagnosed with devastating illnesses.

You cannot choose their genetic makeup, but you can take steps to address what is in your control.

According to a recent Money Talks News article titled “3 Big Dementia Risks That You Can Actually Change,” not all risk factors for dementia are genetic alone.

Some risk factors associated with dementia can be controlled.
Midlife obesity is one of the top three modifiable risk factors for dementia.

Dementia is defined as loss of mental functioning in memory where there is interference with the daily life and activities of the individual.

Lifestyle choices can influence the chances a person has of developing cognitive impairment.

In fact, more than one third of Alzheimer’s cases and certain types of dementia have a connection to modifiable risk factors.

The JAMA Neurology journal of the American Medical Association published recent findings from a study on dementia risk factors.

Unlike a similar study a decade ago where the top three modifiable risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s were identified as depression, physical inactivity, and smoking, the results of the current study found the top three factors to be physical inactivity, midlife obesity, and low education.

This recent study utilized data from more than 378,000 adults.

The researchers from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affair health care system, UCLA, and the University of California – San Fransisco were led by Dr. Roch Nianogo and reviewed the health measurements of the participating adults.

Although risk factors for dementia were not equal across race, ethnicity, and sex, there were some consistencies.

Men rather than women had a greater connection to modifiable risk factors and dementia.

Midlife obesity was the top modifiable risk factor for participants in the study who were white, Black, and Native American or Alaska Native.

Hispanic and Asian participants had low educational attainment as the top modifiable risk factor for dementia.

Apparently, although there are many health factors outside of your control (i.e., hard to pick your ancestors), you can take action to reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s by getting your high school diploma or GED, adding physical activity into your day, and making nutritious food choices.

Reference: Money Talks News (Oct. 3, 2022) “3 Big Dementia Risks That You Can Actually Change”

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