Scientists Say This Can Predict Your Risk of Getting Dementia in the Next 5 Years
Researchers unveiled a calculator that can help determine dementia risk.
As you age, the possibility of developing dementia can become a significant fear. While there's currently no cure for dementia, there are certain lifestyle changes that may be able to help lower your risk of developing the condition. But how do you know what your chances of cognitive decline are? New research has helped create a calculator that can predict your risk of getting dementia in the next five years, if you're over the age of 55. Based on the results, you may decide to adjust your lifestyle choices accordingly. Read on to learn more about this calculator and how you can use it.
Researchers developed a calculator that can predict your risk of dementia using an algorithm.
A group of researchers from the Ottawa Hospital, the University of Ottawa, the Bruyère Research Institute, and ICES worked together to create an online calculator that can help people over the age of 55 understand their brain health and how they can reduce their risk of developing dementia. The research behind the development was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health on June 25. Based on surveys of over 75,000 people, the Project Big Life Dementia Calculator "predicts your five-year risk of being diagnosed with dementia for individuals who are 55 years of age and older, live in the community (i.e., not in long-term care or a retirement home), and have not already been diagnosed with dementia."
The calculator will consider your alcohol consumption, stress level, and education, among other factors.
The algorithm, called the Dementia Population Risk Tool, is what helps the calculator assess your risk. According to a statement, the tool consider some factors that are out of your control, such as age, ethnicity, immigration status, and activities where assistance is needed. But lifestyle choices like alcohol consumption, physical activity, diet, number of languages spoken, and marital status are also factored in. Environmental factors, your education, and other health conditions play a role as well.
This tool allows people to understand their risk easily at home.
"What sets this dementia risk calculator apart is that you don't need to visit a doctor for any tests," study lead author Stacey Fisher, PhD, said in the statement. "People already have all the information they need to complete the calculator in the comfort of their home." People can easily use the results of the calculator to help them identify which parts of their lifestyle they should adjust, if any, the statement notes.
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Lifestyle changes like increasing exercise and reducing alcohol can lower your dementia risk.
The calculator can help you pinpoint specific areas you could alter to mitigate your risk of dementia. However, there are also a handful of lifestyle choices that can help reduce nearly anyone's chances of cognitive decline. According to the statement, "about a third of dementia may be preventable through lifestyle factors like physical activity, healthy eating, reducing alcohol … and managing conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure."