When we think of death we think of heart attacks, stroke and cancer. But we rarely think of this illness – dementia.
Statistics released from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has declared dementia Australia’s second largest killer and Alzheimer’s Australia believe that 342,000 Australians are living with the condition.
Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Carol Bennett said, “We’ve gone from the third leading cause of death, to the second leading cause of death in a year, that’s a massive increase.
“It is a very debilitating condition, and it’s certainly one that has an enormous cost and social impact on the community”.
The ABS believe that deaths from dementia have increased by 30 per cent in the last 50 years – making this a very, very serious condition.
We often pass dementia up as someone “losing their marbles” but really take moment to see the bigger implications of the disease.
Prevention is becoming more and more critical in the fight against dementia and keeping your brain healthy and active through reading, lateral thinking puzzles and social connection is only one of them.
Some of the other things scientifically proven to reduce your chance of dementia include the following:
1. Get regular exercise – gentle to moderate exercise daily is recommended, scientists claim up to 150 minutes per week is ideal.
2. Do not smoke. Smokers are healthiest if they quite at 40 – studies suggest this can maintain an additional 10 years of life.
3. Maintain a healthy bodyweight – don’t settle being “overweight”, we should be in our healthy range.
4. Eat a Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is high in fish, nuts, whole grains and ‘healthy’ fats such as those in olive oil, while low in red meat and dairy products. Studies suggest three to five or more portions of fruit and vegetables with fat making up less than 30 per cent of calories.
5. A low or moderate alcohol consumption. This is classified as three or fewer units per day for men, two or fewer for women, with abstinence not treated as a healthy behaviour. A small 125ml glass of wine contains 1.3 units, while a pint of beer contains at least two units.
So tell us, are you actively preventing this from happening? Are you thinking about prevention? Share your thoughts in the comments below…