An American study published by The BMJ today suggests that a healthy lifestyle is associated with longer life expectancy among men and women, and that they lived a greater proportion of their remaining years without Alzheimer’s disease.
The findings show that a healthy lifestyle is associated with longer life expectancy, but more importantly, additional years do not mean additional years lived with Alzheimer’s disease.
The number of people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is expected to triple worldwide by 2050, from an estimated 57 million in 2019 to 152 million in 2050.
A healthy lifestyle (adequate exercise, cognitive engagement, and a healthy diet) can reduce the risk of dementia and extend life expectancy.
In addition, reaching older ages is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. So while a healthier lifestyle can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia, it can increase the years spent with the disease.
To further investigate this lesser-known problem, a team of researchers from the US and Switzerland looked at the potential impact of a healthy lifestyle on the number of years lived with and without Alzheimer’s disease.
The study analyzes data from 2,449 participants aged 65 and older (mean age 76), with no history of dementia, within the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP).