Living a healthy lifestyle can drastically reduce the risk of developing dementia, a groundbreaking new study has found.
Research suggests the risk of developing dementia was 32 per cent lower in people with a high genetic risk if they had followed a healthy lifestyle, compared to those who had an unhealthy lifestyle.
Joint lead author Dr Elzbieta Kuzma, at the University of Exeter Medical School, said the study was the first to analyse the extent to which you may offset your genetic risk of dementia by living a healthy lifestyle.
Living a healthy lifestyle can drastically reduce the risk of developing dementia, a groundbreaking new study has found (stock image)
She said: 'Our findings are exciting as they show that we can take action to try to offset our genetic risk for dementia.
Sticking to a healthy lifestyle was associated with a reduced risk of dementia, regardless of the genetic risk.'
The study, published in JAMA and presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2019 in Los Angeles, analysed data from 196,383 adults of European ancestry aged 60 and older from UK Biobank.
The researchers identified 1,769 cases of dementia over a follow-up period of eight years.
Participants were grouped into those with high, intermediate and low genetic risk for dementia.
Researchers looked at previously published data and identified all known genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease.
Each factor was weighted according to the strength of its association with Alzheimer's disease.
Keeping fit is one of the ways people can reduce their dementia risk, along with not drinking as much alcohol and not smoking (stock image)
To assess lifestyle, researchers grouped participants into favourable, intermediate and unfavourable categories based on their self-reported diet, physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption.
A hypothetical example of someone considered to be living a healthy lifestyle would be someone who does not currently smoke, and cycles at a normal pace for two-and-a-half hours a week.