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A third of diseases can be prevented by minimizing risk factors – healing practice



Alzheimer’s: a large part of the diseases could be avoided

More than one and a half million people with dementia currently live in Germany. Most of them have Alzheimer’s. We assume that the number of diseases will increase sharply in the years to come. However, a large proportion of cases could be prevented if the known modifiable virus risk factors would be systematically minimized.

Alzheimer’s disease (“Morbus Alzheimer”) is the most common form of dementia. So far, the disease is incurable, but many cases are preventable. This is also shown in a publication in the specialist journal “Alzheimer’s Disease Journalpublished a study that calculated how many cases of dementia could be prevented if known modifiable risk factors were systematically minimized.

The number of diseases will continually increase

Like the German Center for Gerontology (DZA), there are currently around 1.6 million people with dementia in Germany. This number will continue to increase due to demographic change, reaching around 2.8 million in 2050, writes the German Society for Neurology eV (DGN) in a current issue. Message.

In this context, the possible prevention of dementia takes on a completely different meaning, especially since, according to one of the specialist journal “The LancetAccording to the published study, more than one in three diseases is preventable.

Various risk factors for dementia have been identified in epidemiological studies; they are divided into factors that cannot be influenced and factors that can be modified. While genetics cannot be changed, many others can, especially lifestyle factors – be actively improved by individuals.

Other areas (such as the education sector) also require early policy strategies. The study mentioned at the beginning has recently shown that after analyzing the respective initial situation, it might even make sense to modify the strategies of the dementia prevention adapt to specific regions and populations.

Preventable diseases

In this work, using California as an example, we examined whether national incidence estimates and their improvement potential may be transferred to other states or regions. Data from participants (over the age of 18) of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey from the entire United States (n=378,615) and separately from California (n=9,836 ) were analyzed.

For eight known risk factors for dementia (physical inactivity, smoking, depression, low education, diabetes mellitus, obesity or high blood pressure in middle age, and hearing loss), the population-related attributable risk (PAR) was been determined, i.e. the proportion of patients , which is due to the respective factor.

In doing so, an accessible reduction of the most important 25% risk factors.

As a result, a total of 28.9 percent of dementias in California were at the expense of a combination risk factors, compared to 36.9% nationally. This brought the total number of cases to 199,246 in California and 2,287,683 in the United States.

The three most important risk factors

The three main risk factors were the same (low level of education, obesity in middle age and physical inactivity or inactivity). However, their relative importance differed.

In California, for example, the influence of low education was 14.9% (US 11.7%), obesity 14.9% (US 17.7%) and physical inactivity or lack of exercise by 10.3% (US 11.8%).

A lowering combined risk factors of 25% would reduce the number of cases in California by 40,000 and in the entire United States by 445,000 cases. The authors attribute the more favorable numbers for California compared to the entire United States to a lower overall prevalence of most modifiable risk factors.

However, the three most important risk factors were the same (low education, middle-aged obesity and physical inactivity). Therefore, according to experts, these three should also be the target of talks to get voted.

Harmful effects of an unhealthy lifestyle

“We know what harmful effects an unhealthy person can have way of life on the cardiovascular system and the risk of cancer – but that they also have such a dramatic effect on the health of our brain is not yet generally known, even in Germany.”says Professor Dr. Hans-Christoph Diener, spokesperson for the DGN.

“Many neurological diseases are not irreversible spellbut can be avoided”, according to Professor Dr. Peter Berlit, Secretary General of the DGN. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


  • German Neurological Society eV: World Alzheimer’s Day: About a third of all Alzheimer’s diseases are preventable, (accessed September 17, 2022), German Society for Neurology eV
  • Hoffmann CM, Nianogo RA, Yaffe K et al. : Importance of taking into account regional differences in modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias: the case of tailored interventions; in: Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, (published on: 07/30/2022), Alzheimer’s Disease Journal
  • German Center for Age Matters: Acting together for people with dementia in Germany, (accessed September 17, 2022), National Dementia Strategy
  • Livingston G, Huntley J, Sommerlad A et al. : Dementia prevention, intervention and care: Lancet Commission report 2020; in: The Lancet, (published: 30/07/2020), The Lancet

Important Note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.

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