What are the things I can do to lower my risk of dementia?
Professor Susan Kurrle
What's good for the heart is good for the brain. So, reducing blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, eating a good diet, exercising, and stopping smoking all make a big difference and reduce your risk of dementia.
What we know is that if you physically exercise regularly that is at least half an hour, five times a week you reduce your risk or dementia, and if you're going to develop Alzheimer's disease, you delay it's onset.
So, physical exercise is really important. Mental exercise is also really important. We know that people who have many years of education are less likely to develop dementia than those with few years of education. So, keeping the brain active is important: learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, doing a degree later in life, and certainly doing mental exercises such as crosswords, Sudoku, various computer games are all good for the brain.
And it's also important to stay socially active. Stay involved in activities with family, with friends, with community.
Along with that, you have diet. We have at least three studies that show that the Mediterranean diet - think avocados, olive oil, pasta - is protective against developing Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia.
Last reviewed: January 2016