Gransnet forums


How to PREVENT Dementia???

(28 Posts)
Granny23 Fri 21-Oct-16 11:06:50

I read the advice piece late last night and have been seething ever since. Biggest load of pseudo science I have seen in a long time.

My Aunt, my FIL and now my DH all developed dementia. None of them were/are obese, drinkers or smokers; all of them ate good, home cooked food and were active mentally, socially and physically until the disease overtook them. Certainly my Aunt and DH had/have high blood pressure but this was/is controlled by medication.

I do not believe it is possible to PREVENT dementia - I believe it is a 'fickle finger of fate' kind of thing. To suggest, as this article does, that sufferers bring dementia upon themselves by having unhealthy life styles is really unhelpful and for me infuriating.

gillybob Fri 21-Oct-16 11:10:30

I totally agree with you Granny23 it is bad enough to be diagnosed with Dementia (or any other serious illness or conditions) without having some so called "expert" tell you that it is your own fault.

How are you and DH doing? I hope you are looking after yourself. flowers

DaphneBroon Fri 21-Oct-16 11:34:53

Hear, hear granny 23 and gillybob. It is not a lifestyle disease, but sadly the increased incidence may be a by-product of an increased life span as well as, of course, awareness and more accurate diagnosis.

TriciaF Fri 21-Oct-16 11:57:18

Granny23 - how old were your relatives when they developed dementia?
The one piece of research I've seen which makes sense is that people who regularly need to speak at least 2 languages have later onset of dementia/Altzheimers.
I can't give a link, it was a while ago.

annsixty Fri 21-Oct-16 12:08:53

My H was about 70 when I first noticed signs that he may be developing Dementia, He played sport at a competitive level all his life and was still playing golf 3 times a week. He lost interest as he has lost interest in most things, He was a F.R.I.C.S. so no slouch brain wise, he has never been overweight in his life and we were regular walkers, healthy diet,never takeaways and while we both enjoy wine and a G+T we never abuse it. It is very, very hurtful to read these surveys and thinking that folk will think we ourselves are responsible for the terrible and terrifying world we find ourselves in.

LauraGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 21-Oct-16 12:28:15

Hi all. Thanks very much for this feedback. We see where you're coming from and we'll definitely take a look. We would hate to offend or upset anyone, especially as dementia is such a serious condition.

Jayh Fri 21-Oct-16 12:40:34

Good grief. These are the same old hackneyed recommendations that are trotted out as preventatives for everything from cancer to wrinkles. A ridiculous article.

fiorentina51 Fri 21-Oct-16 13:32:49

My MIL started with the disease at the age of 72. Now at age 87 she is a mere shell of the person she was. She was fluent in 3 languages and spoke 2 of them regularly

MargaretX Fri 21-Oct-16 15:54:05

Laura Gransnet says she sees where we are comimg from. This phrase is in itself hackneyed and and is insulting to the intelligent commentaries given my GN members.

Take this Thread down. The title is enough to give hope where no hope can be given, at least not yet.
I watched a TV programme where it maintianed it was the fault of Statins!
Getting dementia is a crual stroke of fate

gretel Fri 21-Oct-16 16:00:56

Sadly articles like this appear in the media on a regular basis. Whilst everyone should try and live a healthy life, saying that dementia can be prevented by a healthy lifestyle is wrong. Even worse are 'celebrities' who say they would never put their loved one in a care home if they had dementia. Do these people really think that this is an easy decision.? No it's a last resort.

Jalima Fri 21-Oct-16 16:07:49

I agree MargaretX, the thread should be taken down as it is quite cruel to infer that people who do develop dementia have been negligent with their health.
The same with cancer and other diseases - yes, there may be some links with lifestyle but they can hit anyone at any time however careful people are with their diet, with exercise etc.

Ana Fri 21-Oct-16 16:10:07

Surely it's not this thread that should be taken down, it's the GN article it refers to!

Jalima Fri 21-Oct-16 16:11:05



LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 21-Oct-16 16:28:44

Hello, there's obviously a misunderstanding with this piece. The intention was for this to be a helpful piece of content. The page doesn't say these steps will prevent dementia (and we've tweaked the heading to clarify this) and we apologise if this is how it's been read. Rather (according to the NHS and other organisations) there are some things people can do that may help reduce the risk of the onset of dementia. Many of our lives have been affected by this disease in some way and we would never suggest that anyone could have brought it upon themselves with their lifestyle.

merlotgran Fri 21-Oct-16 17:16:38

Those recommendations are straight out of the 'How To' stock of bog standard recommendations for anything. hmm


Luckygirl Fri 21-Oct-16 17:27:14

Any article headed up with a smug looking elderly (?) person sitting in the lotus position fails to get my vote. It is so far removed from the reality that many of us live.

Dementia is a bugger - it drops from above in a sickening random fashion.

Give us a break from all this bollocks.

janeainsworth Fri 21-Oct-16 17:44:12

I can understand that if the original thread was entitled 'How to prevent dementia it would be seen as offensive and hurtful, as well as inaccurate.

To be fair to GN, the article only repeats the advice on the NHS website, to which a link is provided.

The bit of advice that annoys me particularly is the bit about following a low-fat diet. I don't believe there is any evidence to support the view that a low-fat diet reduces the risk of dementia or CVD, and I don't think a low-fat diet is particularly healthy. You run the risk of being deficient in fat-soluble vitamins and those omega 3 fatty acids that we are told are essential for our health.

TriciaF Fri 21-Oct-16 17:44:19

I have all the symptoms, so has husband:

M0nica Fri 21-Oct-16 17:51:32

I do not think the research ever suggested that all dementia can be prevented by keeping healthy and active, at least not in the article I read. What it said was that symptoms of dementia CAN (not will) be helped by keeping active and that people with healthy life styles have a lower incidence of dementia and many other illnesses than those whose lifestyle is less conducive to good health.However this does not mean that none of them will get dementia, cancer or any of the other ills that afflict the elderly, just fewer and often at an older age.

The fact that one person smokes 20 cigarettes a day from the age of 15 and lives into their 90s healthy and well does not contradict the mass of evidence that shows that smokers as a group have more ill health and die younger.

BlueBelle Fri 21-Oct-16 17:58:16

My mum didn't smoke only had a wine with a meal, ate a very low fat diet, no salt, was on NO medication until the day she died was a teacher who did crosswords and word puzzles till she got Alzheimer's probably around mid 70 s my Nan, her mum was not overweight used to swim in the sea every day before work, she ate a very good diet having lived on a farm and made all her own food no processed stuff in those days again no medication, no blood pressure became unwell late 70 s and went into mental decline.
Its a hideous illness and I think we need to feel that work is being done to find a cure but not made to feel we ve set it up ourselves through our lifestyle

BlueBelle Fri 21-Oct-16 18:01:50

Haha TriciaF I ve just read those symptoms and think I have most of them too

Luckygirl Fri 21-Oct-16 18:06:11

Well - all this does not prove a CAUSAL relationship.

It may be that those who are active and interested in life and lead a healthy lifestyle are thus precisely because their genetic programme is not set on dementia. We just do not know.

By all means advocate a healthy lifestyle, but to postulate that this might lead to a reduction in dementia incidence is only likely to be relevant to cerebro-vascuar dementia and not to the other dementias (Alzheimers, PD, etc.). Vascular diseases of all kinds seem to be related to poor diet and lack of exercise (and there is evidence for this) so it is not utterly outlandish to postulate that this might also obtain with the cerebral blood vessels.

If we are talking about the symptoms being helped by leading as healthy and as normal a life as possible as long as possible into the illness, then that is a different thing.

I worked for many years with people with dementia and they were from all walks of life, all sizes and shapes, all levels of intelligence, all variations of previous lifestyles etc. It is just bad luck.

morethan2 Fri 21-Oct-16 18:33:10

I'm asking a question here and wondered what you think. My MiL has dementia and is currently unhappily in a residential home. I've just remembered that everyone of her sisters succumb to the same thing. All ended up in residentional homes. Does it run in families or was it just horrible coincidence?

Elegran Fri 21-Oct-16 19:14:47

Luckygirl The futurelearn course "Making Sense of Health Evidence" says "if one thing causes another other, those two will surely be correlated. The reverse is not always the case." and has a link to a website with some really way-out comparisons of graphs of statistics which look as though things are connected, but aren't - the graph for the divorce rate in Maine for 2000-2009 has a startling correlation to that for the per capita consumption of margarine over those years.

Jalima Fri 21-Oct-16 19:29:10

janea I agree, I thought the idea that a low-fat diet is healthy had been found to be bunkum; healthy fats are an essential part of a good diet, and in fact saturated fats are not the no-no that they have been claimed to be.

We will all know someone who has eaten a diet high in saturated fats, drunk (moderately), smoked (gave up in their 60s!) and has reached the age of 98 still healthy and sharp as a tack!
And we will all know of someone who follows all the rules on healthy living yet is struck down with an illness in their 50s or earlier.

It is very unfair to try to blame people for their illnesses it is bad enough coping if something develops without the added stress of wondering if it could have been prevented if you had just walked that extra mile per day, not had that icecream or piece of bacon occasionally.