This 12-step checklist could help people reduce their risk of developing Dementia.

Alzheimer's UK designed the brain health checking tool as a way to empower the British public to make decisions that will reduce their odds of developing the condition. 

The tool was released last year as the leading charity called for the brain health check to be included as part of the NHS mid-life MOT also known as the NHS Health Check.

It followed a survey - conducted on behalf of the charity - which found that just 2% of adults are doing their utmost to help their brains stay healthy.

Weston Mercury: Use this 12 point check list to help reduce your risk of developing dementia (PA)Use this 12 point check list to help reduce your risk of developing dementia (PA) (Image: PA)

Meanwhile, the vast majority of people are not doing enough to ward off dementia in later life. 

It is thought that approximately 40% of dementias are linked to lifestyle factors which we can adjust ourselves to help reduce our risk.

These factors can include looking after our hearing, completing daily challenges to keep our brains active, socialising, keeping fit and eating a healthy diet.

Here are 12 things you should be doing to help reduce your risk of developing Dementia

  • Getting at least seven hours of sleep a night
  • Regularly challenging the brain
  • Looking after mental well-being
  • Staying socially active
  • Looking after your hearing
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Staying physically active
  • Quitting smoking
  • Drinking responsibly
  • Keeping a healthy level of cholesterol
  • Maintaining healthy blood pressure
  • Managing diabetes as well as possible

A separate YouGov study of 2,200 British adults has also shown that continuing education in younger life, avoiding traumatic head injury and reducing exposure to air pollution can also help reduce a person’s risk.

The survey, conducted on behalf of the charity, found that people are falling short in the steps they can perform themselves to reduce their risk.

You can use the Think Brain Health Check-In tool via the Alzheimer's UK website.

What are the first signs and symptoms of having Dementia?

There are different types of Dementia  - since it is not a disease itself - but rather a collection of symptoms caused by damage to the brain from other conditions like Alzheimer's.

We can all experience the symptoms differently depending on what part of the brain is affected.

However, the NHS has gathered some of the first signs and early symptoms that you should be aware of.

These early symptoms can include:

  • memory loss
  • difficulty concentrating
  • finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, such as getting confused over the correct change when shopping
  • struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
  • being confused about time and place
  • mood changes

For more information, guidance and support, visit the NHS website.

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At what age does Dementia begin?

According to the National Institute of Aging, most people with Alzheimer's first start experiencing symptoms in their mid -60s.

Sometimes this can be later if it is the late on-set variety,

If the person develops the condition before 65, it is considered as early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Although this is rare, a person can develop early-onset Alzheimer's in their 30s.