Researchers have not yet found a way to prevent the illnesses that cause dementia. The biggest risk factor for dementia is age, and it’s impossible to stop yourself from getting older.
However, there are some things people can do to reduce their risk of getting dementia when they are older. Smoking, drinking lots of alcohol, a lack of exercise and obesity (being very overweight) increase a person’s risk of getting many different illnesses, including some of the illnesses that cause dementia.
By avoiding these risk factors, people may be able to help reduce their risk of getting dementia when they are older. However, some people will live a healthy lifestyle and still develop dementia when they’re older, because there are so many different factors involved.
By understanding the illnesses that cause dementia, scientists hope to find ways to prevent, treat and even cure dementia in the future.
More research is being done than ever before, and we already understand a lot more about dementia than we used to. Some people who are living with dementia help with this, by taking part in research projects.
Sometimes the media reports on research that is still at a very early stage. Promising results in the laboratory are always good news, but it can take a long time to turn them into a treatment that can be used to help people.
At the moment, there is no way to halt or reverse the brain changes that cause dementia. It’s hard to know exactly when there will be new treatments for the different types of dementia, but research is already helping doctors to find the best ways to care for people with dementia.
Research has also helped to develop medicines that can relieve some of the symptoms that people with dementia experience’, such as depression. There are also medicines that may help to keep a person’s symptoms stable for longer. Everyone is different, but for some people these medicines can make a real difference.
This information was updated in December 2017 and is due for review in December 2019. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.