The conversations of life

Did you know your heart health affects your risk of dementia?


It’s one of the many things we learned from this story in which Alzheimer’s Research UK explains 15 of the main misconceptions – and realities – around dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

This is because your brain and heart are intrinsically linked together. Most of the blood pumped by your heart is used by your brain – so any damage to your heart will have a ‘knock-on effect’ on your brain health. It’s why the risk factors for dementia as the same as the ones for cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attacks.

Secondly, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are not the same thing – dementia is used to describe symptoms like confusion, memory loss, mood changes, and personality changes, but there are a whole range of conditions that can cause dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, vascular dementia and Frontotemporal dementia.

Third, it’s not an inevitable part of getting older. You don’t just get a bit forgetful as you get older – dementia is caused by diseases, it’s not something that you get because you’re ageing.

Debunking the myths

Most people also don’t realise that it’s fatal – and one of our leading causes of death. “These are physical diseases that ultimately are terminal – they will shorten your life,” Laura Phipps, the head of communications and engagement at Alzheimer’s Research UK said.

There’s also more symptoms than memory loss. These include not being able to move around, difficulty speaking and trouble swallowing which can make people frailer and more susceptible to things like falls and infections.

But there is good news – around 35 per cent of the risk factors for dementia are lifestyle-related, so stopping smoking, treating depression and high blood pressure, and being physically active can all reduce your risk.

It’s worth checking out the full article here.

National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500

With a background in nursing, Annie has spent over 20 years working in the health industry, including the coordination of medical support for international TV productions and major stadium events, plus education campaigns with a number of national health organisations. In recent years, she has also taken time out of the workforce to be a full-time carer, giving her first-hand experience of the challenges and rewards of this role.

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