Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

As the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still unknown, there’s no way to prevent the condition. However, there are steps you can take that may help to delay the onset of dementia.

Reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease has been linked with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

You may be able to reduce your risk of developing these conditions – as well as other serious problems, such as strokes and heart attacks – by taking steps to improve your cardiovascular health, including:

  • Stopping smoking
  • Not drinking large amounts of alcohol
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet, including at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day
  • Exercising for at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) every week by doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as cycling or fast walking) – this will improve both your physical and mental health
  • Make sure your blood pressure is checked and controlled through regular health tests
  • If you have diabetes, make sure you keep to the diet and take your medication

Read more about preventing dementia.

Staying mentally active

There’s some evidence to suggest that rates of dementia are lower in people who remain as mentally, physically and socially active as possible throughout their lives, as well as among those who enjoy a wide range of different activities and hobbies.

It may be possible to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia by:

  • Reading
  • Writing for pleasure
  • Learning foreign languages
  • Playing musical instruments
  • Taking part in adult education courses
  • Playing tennis
  • Playing golf
  • Swimming
  • Group sports, such as bowling
  • Walking

Interventions such as “brain training” computer games have been shown to improve cognition over a short period, but research hasn’t yet demonstrated whether this can prevent dementia.

Future research

Research into Alzheimer’s disease is continuing. As more is revealed about the condition, other ways to treat or prevent it may be found. Participation in research is important and helps to improve dementia care and support for people with dementia, plus their carers and families.

You can read about ongoing dementia research on the Alzheimer’s Research UK website. You can also ask your local memory clinic about projects taking place.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has advised that there isn’t evidence to support the use of the following to prevent dementia:

  • Statins
  • Hormone replacement therapy – when chemicals are taken to replace those that your body no longer produces
  • Vitamin E – found in a variety of foods, such as olive oil, nuts and seeds
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Source: NHS UK