Dementia is the name given to a group of symptoms linked to an ongoing decline of brain function, according to the NHS.
The condition affects the way patients speak, think, feel and behave.
Symptoms of dementia can include memory loss, confusion, difficulty following a conversation and mood changes.
But, you could lower your risk of dementia – including Alzheimer’s disease – by making simple lifestyle changes, the NHS said.
“There’s good evidence that a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of developing dementia when you’re older,” it said.
“Experts agree that what’s good for your heart is also good for your brain.”
Eating a healthy, balanced diet could help to lower your risk of dementia.
That includes eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
“A diet high in saturated fat, salt and sugar, and low in fibre, can increase your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, becoming overweight or obese, and type 2 diabetes.
“Eat a healthy, balanced diet following the Eatwell Guide.”
Your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia increases if you’re overweight or obese.
Obesity is linked to high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, the NHS said.
“If you are overweight or obese, even losing five to 10 per cent of the excess weight can help to reduce your risk of dementia.”
Regularly exercising could lower your risk of developing dementia.
A lack of regularly exercise increases the chances of dementia risk factors, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
“Follow the recommended guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, such as brisk walking, cycling or dancing.
“You should also do strengthening exercises twice a week, such as gardening or yoga.”
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can damage the nervous system, which includes the brain.
It also increases the risk of some cancers, heart disease and strokes.
“Stick to the recommended advice of no more than 14 units a week for both men and women.
“If you regularly drink as much as 14 units in a week, you should try to spread your drinking over three or more days and have several drink-free days each week.”
Having depression can affect your ability to be socially active, and engage in mentally stimulating activities, the NHS said.
Having untreated depression could increase your risk of dementia. But, depression could also be a symptom of dementia if it’s already developed.
“If you’re concerned that you, a relative or friend may be depressed, talk to your GP. They may refer you for counselling or talking therapies.”
For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.