PREVENTION OF DEMENTIA II
IN CHAPTER 2, PREVENTION STRATEGIES that are applicable to everybody were considered. In this chapter, strategies that are applicable either to individuals at increased risk of dementia or to individuals already experiencing mild symptoms of possible dementia (mild cognitive impairment) are considered.
Selective prevention strategies are directed towards individuals at high risk with established risk factors for a disease. Common examples include weight reduction in overweight people to reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes, smoking cessation to reduce the risk of lung, heart and blood vessel disease, and increased calcium intake in people with osteoporosis to reduce the risk of fractures. Some dementia prevention strategies in this category may be useful for everybody, not just those with risk factors for dementia, and I indicate those which are most promising. Not all established dementia risk factors currently have effective preventive strategies.
Genetic factors are known to be causative in most early onset (presenile) dementias, and there is now mounting evidence that they contribute in a major way to the development of late onset Alzheimer's disease. Genetic factors and age are the two main established risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. Unfortunately, there are currently no recognised preventive strategies that can directly reduce the genetic risk.