A less healthy lifestyle increases the risk of dementia

The less healthy your lifestyle, the more you are at risk of developing dementia in later life, a new systematic review has shown. Researchers analysed the results of 18 studies with over 44,000 participants | BMJ Open | via National Institute for Health research

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Having two or more ‘modifiable risk factors’, including smoking, high blood pressure, poor diet, inactivity, obesity and excessive alcohol consumption, puts adults at greater risk of developing dementia.

The included studies followed up people without signs of cognitive decline to see who developed dementia of any cause.

A third of the studies could be combined in a meta analysis and these showed a 20% increase in the risk of dementia for one risk factor, which rose to 65% for two risk factors. The presence of three risk factors doubled the risk of dementia.

There was also a reduction in risk conveyed by having fewer risk factors and this, despite any direct evidence from intervention trials, holds out hope that interventions which either reduce or remove risk will lead to a reduction in the incidence of dementia diagnoses.

These results are consistent with our growing knowledge of the links between unhealthy lifestyles and dementia and are highly relevant to the promotion of healthy ageing behaviours in mid-life and beyond,  providing a compelling call to action in terms of public health and ageing.

Further detail at National Institute for Health Research

Full reference: Peters R, Booth A, Rockwood K et al. Combining modifiable risk factors and risk of dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. | BMJ Open | 2019 | 9:e022846.

Dementia care costs to nearly treble in next two decades

This report, commissioned by Alzheimer’s Society, provides projections of the number of older people (aged 65 and over) living with dementia and the costs of health care, social care and unpaid care for older people living with dementia from 2019 to 2040 in the UK | story via London School of Economics and Political Science 

The cost of social care for people living with dementia will nearly treble by 2040, according to a new report by the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre (CPEC).

The research shows that by 2040, while the number of people living with dementia in the UK is expected to nearly double (to 1.6 million), the cost of social care is expected to almost triple, increasing from £15.7 to £45.4 billion. It falls to people living with dementia and their families to pay the majority of these costs.

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Image source: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

 

The study also estimates that families are providing £13.9 billion a year in unpaid care for people living with dementia. This is also projected to increase to £35.7 billion by 2040.

The total cost of dementia to the UK economy has risen to £34.7 billion and will continue to rise to £94.1 billion by 2040. This includes costs to the NHS, paid social care and unpaid care.

 
Full research paper: Projections of Older People Living with Dementia and Costs of Dementia Care in the United Kingdom, 2019–2040 | CPEC Working Paper 5 | Raphael Wittenberg, Bo Hu, Luis Barraza-Araiza, Amritpal Rehill

See also: Dementia care costs to nearly treble in next two decades | London School of Economics and Political Science

Dementia: comorbidities in patients

Analysis of primary care data relating to other health conditions that patients with dementia live with in England | Public Health England

NHS England has published a data briefing on the analysis of a sample of primary care records of patients with dementia, relating to their other health conditions (comorbidities).

It examines whether:

  • patients with dementia are more likely to have comorbidities
  • patients with dementia are more likely to have multiple comorbidities
  • different subtypes of dementias lead to different patterns of comorbidities

The comorbidities considered in this study are conditions that:

  • can increase the risk of dementia such as hypertension, coronary heart disease (CHD) and diabetes
  • are associated with dementia such as stroke or transient ischaemic attack (stroke or TIA), depression, Parkinsonism, epilepsy, severe mental illness or psychosis (SMI)
  • are physical conditions not directly associated with dementia – such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

The briefing asks commissioners and health and care providers to consider the plans they have in place to diagnose and treat the other conditions that people living with dementia experience, particularly those living with more severe dementias.

They should also consider how multiple morbidities can be successfully managed in a comprehensive personal care plan, as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan, to improve health outcomes and provide better support – with an active focus on supporting people in the community.

Full detail: Dementia: comorbidities in patients – data briefing