Just 1% of UK adults are able to name seven known risk or protective factors for the dementia, a report by Alzheimer’s research UK has found.
The report found reveals that many struggle to name known risk factors, such as heavy drinking, genetics, smoking, high blood pressure, depression and diabetes. Approximately 48% of people survey failed to identify any. With a third of cases of dementia thought to be influenced by factors in our control to change, Alzheimer’s Research UK say the findings highlight a clear need for education around dementia prevention.
‘It is a sad truth that more people are affected by dementia than ever before and half of us now know someone with the condition,’ said Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK. ‘Yet despite growing dementia awareness, we must work harder to improve understanding of the diseases that cause it. Dementia is the UK’s biggest killer but only half of people recognise it even causes death, and almost half of UK adults are unable to name one of seven known risk factors for dementia including smoking, high blood pressure and heavy drinking.
The report also found that more than half of UK adults (52%) now say they know someone with dementia. Additionally, only half (51%) recognise that dementia is a cause of death and more than 1 in 5 (22%) incorrectly believes it’s an inevitable part of getting older.
‘Many of these enduring misconceptions influence attitudes to research, with the Dementia Attitudes Monitor showing that those who believe dementia is an inevitable part of ageing are also less likely to value a formal diagnosis or to engage with research developments that could bring about life-changing preventions and treatments,’ added Ms Evans. ‘Making breakthroughs in public understanding has the potential to empower more people to take steps to maintain their own brain health, to seek a diagnosis and to support research that has the power to transform lives.’