Four in ten cases of dementia could be prevented or delayed by adopting a healthier lifestyle, study finds.
Experts have identified a dozen modifiable risks from childhood to old age which represent 40% of cases.
This includes too much alcohol, too little exercise, smoking, obesity and high blood pressure.
Loneliness, pollution, head trauma, hearing loss, depression, diabetes, and poor education also increase the risks.
The report was written by 28 researchers around the world who want people and governments to take action.
Lead author Professor Gill Livingston, University College London, said: “We can reduce risk by creating active and healthy environments.”
Other suggestions include wider use of hearing aids, support for quitting smoking, and safer work practices.
Fiona Carragher of the Alzheimer Society said: “The news that 40% of dementia cases are, in theory, now preventable is certainly welcome.
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“While we don’t have all the answers yet, we can take action now to tackle the risk factors under our control, including heavy drinking, obesity and high blood pressure.
“In the meantime, we need public health policies to tackle other factors, such as air pollution and inequalities in children’s education.”
Around 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK, and that number is expected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040.
The results are published in The Lancet and presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.
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