A healthy lifestyle protects against Alzheimer’s

Those who do not smoke at the age of 65, drink little alcohol, eat healthily, and are physically and mentally active have a good chance of living longer and suffering from Alzheimer’s for much less time in the remaining years. This is the result of a study published in the specialized journal “BMJ”.

According to a new study, these five lifestyle factors reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and increase the chances of living longer:

  1. Not smoking
  2. Drink little alcohol
  3. 150 minutes of moderate and vigorous physical activity per week
  4. Eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and salad, berries, nuts, olive oil, whole grain products, legumes, fish and poultry at most twice a week
  5. Regular mental activities, e.g. games, crosswords, social contacts, going to concerts

65-year-old women who followed four or all five factors had an additional average life expectancy of 24.2 years – 3.1 years longer than women who had none or only one of these factors. Of the total life expectancy, healthy, active women had an average of 2.6 years of dementia, while sick women lived with the disease for 4.1 years.

Healthy, active men aged 65 lived another 23.1 years, 5.7 years longer than sick men. Of these, those with a healthy lifestyle spent 1.4 years with dementia, while those with an unhealthy lifestyle spent 2.1 years.

A healthy, active lifestyle was not only associated with a longer life, but also many more years remaining without Alzheimer’s dementia. Consequently, a longer life does not increase the risk of developing dementia. The disease is not simply postponed until later, but occurs less frequently or for a shorter period of time with healthy lifestyle habits despite a longer life expectancy. This study highlights the importance of lifestyle habits not only for physical but also mental health in old age, which is increasingly emerging from scientific research.

What: DOI 10.1136 / bmj-2021-068390

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