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Regular check ups prevent dementia at bay

Published on 17 Jul. 2011 1:57 AM IST
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Regular check-ups like visiting the dentist, having your eyes tested and avoiding coughs and colds could prevent dementia, say scientists.
Researchers have identified a range of illnesses, aches and pains that all increase the risk of dementia including arthritis, poor eyesight, broken bones and even badly fitting dentures.
Regular dental check-ups and staying as healthy and active as possible lessen the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease and similar conditions in later life, said the study by Canadian scientists in the journal Neurology.
Although on their own the complaints would only increase the risk very slightly, someone suffering a range of health problems could be twice as likely to get dementia, they said.
The researchers looked at how eyesight, hearing, arthritis, coughs and colds, dental problems, diabetes and high blood pressure affected a person’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s and related conditions.
They claimed that a normal, healthy person has an 18 percent chance of getting the disease at some point in life. But this risk goes up by 3.2 percent for every illness or complaint that affects them.
Rebecca Wood, of Alzheimer’s Research (Britain), said: “This large study has turned up some intriguing and unexpected results, and it will be important to see whether follow-up studies have similar findings.”
Keeping up with your overall health including whether a person’s dentures fit properly or they suffer from poor eyesight or hearing may help reduce the risk for dementia, according to a new research.
Improving and maintaining health factors not traditionally associated with dementia may in fact be key to avoiding the brain disorder, researchers say.
“Our study suggests that rather than just paying attention to already known risk factors for dementia, such as diabetes or heart disease, keeping up with your general health may help reduce the risk for dementia,” said study author Kenneth Rockwood, MD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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