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World Health Organization (WHO) issues guideline on risk reduction of dementia

For Alzheimer's disease, Vascular dementia, Frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body dementia and Dementia

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published its first guideline on the prevention and management of dementia, recommending the adoption of specific lifestyle interventions such as encouraging physical activity and smoking cessation for reducing the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

These new WHO guidelines provide the knowledge base for health care providers, governments, policy-makers and other stakeholders to reduce the risks of cognitive decline and dementia through a public health approach. As many of the risk factors for dementia are shared with those of noncommunicable diseases, the key recommendations can be effectively integrated into programmes for tobacco cessation, cardiovascular disease risk reduction and nutrition.

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Feature

Dementia isn't a single disease. Dementia is a term used to describe the symptoms that occur when there's a decline in brain function.

Several different diseases can cause dementia. Many of these diseases are associated with an abnormal build-up of proteins in the brain.

This build-up causes nerve cells to function less well and ultimately die. As the nerve cells die, different areas of the brain shrink.

Types of dementia include:
  • Alzheimer's disease (AD)
  • Vascular dementia
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia.
As the number of older adults increases worldwide, a rise in dementia and AD has also been reported, causing health, economic and social burdens.

In 2015, it has been estimated that there were 46.8 million people with dementia in the world, and the number is predicted to double every 20 years, reaching 74.7 million in 2030 and 131.5 million in 2050.

AD/dementia has been linked to modifiable, lifestyle-related and cardiovascular risk factors and since the management of cardiovascular diseases is still sub-optimal in many countries, especially among older adults and no cure is available for AD, management of cardiovascular risks could be crucial in halting the rapid increase in the prevalence of dementia, as some projection models suggested.

Sources
World Health Organization
NHS website for dementia
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
Accessed 16/05/19
Links available in full article

World Health Organization (WHO) guideline on prevention of dementia

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