WHO Issues Dementia Prevention Guidelines

"In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple," said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia. The scientific evidence gathered for these guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart is also good for our brain."

The World Health Organization has issued new guidelines that recommend getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels in order to prevent the onset of dementia.

"In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple," said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia. The scientific evidence gathered for these guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart is also good for our brain."

The guidelines provide the knowledge base for health care providers to advise patients on what they can do to help prevent cognitive decline and dementia, and they'll also be useful for governments, policy makers, and planning authorities to guide them in developing policy and programs that encourage healthy lifestyles.

Reducing risk factors for dementia is one of several areas of action included in WHO's global action plan for the public health response to dementia. Other areas include strengthening information systems for dementia; diagnosis, treatment, and care; supporting caregivers for people with dementia; and research and innovation.

Dr. Dévora Kestel, director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO, said dementia caregivers "are very often family members who need to make considerable adjustments to their family and professional lives to care for their loved ones. This is why WHO created iSupport. iSupport is an online training program providing carers of people with dementia with advice on overall management of care, dealing with behavior changes, and how to look after their own health."

iSupport is currently being used in eight countries and excepted to expand to others.

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