Aged more scared of dementia than cancer

MORE people over 50 are scared of getting dementia than they are of getting cancer, according to a recent poll in the UK.

Alzheimer's disease accounts for between 50-70% of dementia cases in Australia and Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is using World Alzheimer's Day on 21 September as an opportunity to remind people that if they get active they can reduce the risks of this dreaded disease.

Exercise physiologist Katie Williams says an inspiring new study carried out by US-based Cleveland Clinic Center for Brain Health** shows that exercise can help to keep the brain robust in people who have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

"The findings suggest that even moderate amounts of physical activity can help to slow the progression of one of the most dreaded diseases of aging," Ms Williams said.

"This is good news for those who fear conditions like Alzheimer's disease as while there is much we don't know about the causes of contracting the disease, we do now know that the risk factors are largely associated with reduced physical activity."

"There are simple ways we can all get more active - take the stairs rather than the lift, use the furthest parking space at the shopping centre or take a walk or cycle around your neighbourhood.

"We live in a culture where convenience is everything and the thought of walking to the local shop rather than driving seems foreign but if it can help avoid the onset of a terrible disease like Alzheimer's, surely it's worth considering."

This philosophy is further supported by a recent report by Alzheimer's Australia and the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), Is the Incidence of Dementia Declining?, which suggests that action on preventative health could lower the risk of dementia for future generations.

Alzheimer's Australia CEO, Glenn Rees AM, says this further backs up research being conducted here in Australia.

"Alzheimer's Australia program Your Brain Matters is the world's first publically funded risk reduction program and confirms what this study has uncovered regarding the link between brain health and physical exercise," Mr Rees said.

"People of all ages can make simple lifestyle changes that may reduce their risk of dementia, such as increasing physical activity, looking after heart health, maintaining a healthy diet, remaining socially active, and mentally challenging your brain."

Recommended activity for preventing and managing Alzheimer's Disease

Meet or exceed the following:

• Continuous or intermittent aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise for 20-60 minutes per session, 3-5 times per week. Your total weekly exercise should be 120-150 minutes, depending on the intensity of your aerobic exercise.
• Resistance (weight) training consisting of 6-8 exercises per session, with the goal of 2 or more sessions per week. It is important to exercise all the major muscle groups.
• Flexibility exercises for major muscle groups involving 2-4 sets of each stretch, 2-3 times per week.
For more information please visit www.exerciseright.com.au. We strongly recommend that you see an accredited exercise physiologist (AEP) for an appropriate and safe exercise prescription.

Dementia in Australia

• There are more than 332,000 Australians living with dementia
• This number is expected to increase by one third to 400,000 in less than ten years
• Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is expected to be almost 900,000 by 2050
• Each week, there are more than 1,700 new cases of dementia in Australia; approx. one person every 6 minutes. This is expected to grow to 7,400 new cases each week by 2050
• There are 24,700 people in Australia with Younger Onset Dementia (a diagnosis of dementia under the age of 65; including people as young as 30)
• Three in ten people over the age of 85 and almost one in ten people over 65 have dementia
• An estimated 1.2 million people are involved in the care of a person with dementia
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• If dementia were a country, it would be the world's 18th largest economy



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