What You Can Do to Help Prevent Dementia

September is World Alzheimer's Month, and a recent study shows dementia cases are expected to triple worldwide by 2050. A physician explains what's causing that trend.

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CLEVELAND – September is World Alzheimer’s Month. According to a recent study, dementia cases will triple worldwide by 2050.

So, what’s the reason behind this concerning trend?

“In a lot of developing countries, people are living longer. We’re seeing more diabetes, greater weight gain, more smoking and those risk factors, along with aging, are increasing the risk for Alzheimer’s and related dementias,” explained James Leverenz, MD, who is the director of Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Cleveland Clinic.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. For those unfamiliar, dementia is a term used to describe a group of symptoms that can affect thinking, memory, reasoning, personality, mood and behavior.

Dr. Leverenz said the results of the study highlight the importance of early intervention. Especially among younger people who still have the chance to lose weight, start working out and quit smoking.

He said living a healthy lifestyle can make a big difference.

“A lot of our research here at the Cleveland Clinic is focused on how physical activity interacts with genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and the immune system,” he said. “So we’re very excited about trying to parse what ways we can recommend people to help them prevent getting Alzheimer’s, even when they carry a risk gene.”

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