People who look after their heart health in their sixties are less at risk of dementia

 

According to researchers at the University of Bordeaux, adopting four simple health rules could protect you from developing dementia, even if you adopt the healthy lifestyle in your sixties – and in Care UK homes we are supporting residents to do just that.

Scientists from the University of Bordeaux looked at the medical statistics of more than 6,500 people aged 65. They followed their health for an average of eight and a half years, during which time 754 developed dementia.

The results show that people in this age category can lower their chances of developing the condition by 10 per cent for each one of the four health rules they adopt, cutting their risk by up to an incredible 40 per cent in total.

The categories are: 

  1. Not smoking, 
  2. Maintaining a healthy weight, 
  3. Getting regular exercise, and 
  4. Following a nutritious diet.

Jason Axford, Care UK’s Lead Quality Development Manager, said: “We have known for a long time that what is good for the heart is good for the head. The really uplifting news from the research is that following these lifestyle patterns accrues health benefits even in our sixties.

“In our homes, our chefs work to ensure residents have access not just to nutritious, well-balanced meals, but also healthy snacks and treats so they have a full range of vitamins and minerals.

“Our lifestyle coordinators work with residents who like gardening, creating vegetable patches and herb gardens. This not only adds to the fresh produce we use in our homes but also boosts the exercise levels of participants.

“Several of our homes have set up community walking groups while others have invited the community in to take part in organised exercise classes or dance, all designed to promote heart health and well as fun.”

A 2017 worldwide study of 1.3 million people found that a five-point rise in BMI, moving a person from healthy to obese, raised the likelihood of developing dementia by 16 per cent – to 33 per cent.

Jason said: “The research appears to show that a Mediterranean diet, which is high in oily fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, low fat dairy products, wholegrains and small amounts of red wine, while avoiding unhealthy foods, helps us to keep a healthy weight but promotes heart health.

“Add fun recreational activities, such as swimming, walking or gardening, and stress relieving activities such as reading, yoga and meditation, also help to lower blood pressure – another major factor in the development of heart issues and dementia.”

The NHS offers a lot of excellent and free advice on how to lead a healthy lifestyle, whatever your age:

To learn about giving-up smoking click here

To learn about weight loss, click here

To learn about exercise, click here

To learn how to reduce stress click here