In Brief

Seven risk factors for dementia

New study finds just one in three adults in UK know the disease may be preventable

Only half of UK adults can accurately identify any of the key risk factors related to the onset of dementia, according to new research.

And only 34% of people are aware that dementia may be preventable, an Ipsos Mori survey of 2,361 people has found. The findings, published by charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, reveal a widespread “lack of awareness around lifestyle factors” that can increase the risk of the disease, says the ITV News site.

Only half of those surveyed recognised that dementia is a cause of death, while a fifth were found to “incorrectly believe it is an inevitable part of getting older”, the BBC reports.

In fact, experts believe that a third of all cases of dementia are “influenced by factors that are under people’s control”, adds ITV. Yet a mere 1% of survey respondents were able to name all seven of these known risk or protective factors.

The new study, entitled Dementia Attitudes Monitor, lists the key risk factors as:

  • heavy drinking
  • genetics
  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • depression
  • diabetes
  • lack of exercise

There are currently more than 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia - a total that is expected to rise to more than a million by 2025. Commonly associated with memory loss, the disease affects people in a variety of ways, including confusion, delusions and hallucinations, and difficulty communicating.

Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “It is a sad truth that more people are affected by dementia than ever before and half of us now know someone with the condition. Yet despite growing dementia awareness, we must work harder to improve understanding of the diseases that cause it.”

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