World Alzheimer’s Day to raise awareness of vascular dementia
Sep 21, 2005, 19:25, Reviewed by: Dr.
|‘Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, yet many people have never heard of it, and do not realise that there are things that they can do to reduce their risk. Leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t just keep you physically fit but can help keep your brain in good shape too. This new campaign is asking people to think ahead about dementia – you can act now to reduce your risk. It’s time to realise a healthy heart equals a healthy brain.’
The Alzheimer’s Society has launched a new initiative today – World Alzheimer’s Day - to raise awareness of vascular dementia. It is the second most common form of dementia in the UK but many people have never heard of the condition.
One in four people who have a stroke go onto develop vascular dementia within three months. Yet health professionals often miss the link. This means many people remain undiagnosed and are unable to access the care and support they need. These concerning facts have spurred the Alzheimer’s Society to launch the Hearts and Brains project, the first ever project by a UK charity to focus on vascular dementia. Vascular dementia is caused by problems with supply of blood to the brain and it affects over 150,000 people in the UK.
The Society aims to raise awareness of the condition, and the risk factors associated with it. As part of the project the Society is encouraging people to ‘love their brain’ highlighting simple ways to keep your heart and brain healthy and reduce the risk of vascular dementia.
There are 18 million people with dementia worldwide, however, qualitative research carried out by the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK showed a worrying lack of knowledge about the different types of dementia. Whilst all interviewees had heard of Alzheimer’s disease, none of those asked had any knowledge of vascular dementia.
Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, says,
‘Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, yet many people have never heard of it, and do not realise that there are things that they can do to reduce their risk. Leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t just keep you physically fit but can help keep your brain in good shape too. This new campaign is asking people to think ahead about dementia – you can act now to reduce your risk. It’s time to realise a healthy heart equals a healthy brain.’
‘Each year thousands of people are diagnosed with vascular dementia but many do not know where to turn. This World Alzheimer’s Day we want to tell people that we are here for all forms of dementia.’
The Alzheimer’s Society is launching a series of seminars across the country, with new posters and information booklets aimed at raising awareness of the condition amongst health professional and the general public. The risk factors for vascular dementia are the same as those for stroke and heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity; giving people even more reason to keep their heart in mind. Simple steps can help reduce your risk of developing the condition, you can ‘love your brain’ by:
* Not smoking
* Only drinking alcohol in moderation, no more than 2 units a day
* Reducing your intake of salt and saturated fat
* Taking regular exercise, at least 30 minutes a day
* Having a GP check your blood pressure and blood fat levels at least once a year.
The international theme of World Alzheimer’s Day 2005 is ‘we can make a difference.’ The Alzheimer’s Society has launched the Hearts and Brains project to encourage people to make a difference by understanding more about vascular dementia.
- Alzheimer’s Society
For a free information booklet ‘Understanding vascular dementia’ or for help and advice on any form of dementia please call the Alzheimer’s Helpline on 0845 300 0336.
* One in four people who have a stroke go onto develop vascular dementia within three months. Tatemichi, TK, Dementia in stroke survivors in the Stroke Data Bank cohort. Stroke. 21.858-866 1990.
* Alzheimer’s Society research carried out by Big Picture. Six focus groups were conducted each containing approximately six participants. All participants recognised the term Alzheimer’s disease whilst none of participants had heard of vascular dementia.
* The Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading care and research charity for people with dementia and their carers.
* World Alzheimer’s Day is co-ordinated by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) and observed on 21 September each year. ADI is the umbrella organisation of 66 Alzheimer’s associations around the world. Visit www.alz.co.uk for a list of what is happening around the world.
* Over 750,000 people in the UK have dementia. Approximately 20% will have vascular dementia.
* Dementia affects one in 20 people over the age of 65 and one in five over the age of 80.
* There are 18,500 people in the UK under the age of 65 with dementia.
* For information and advice on Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia call the Alzheimer's Society national helpline on 0845 300 0336.
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