Everybody knows that taking care of your body and following a decent diet can help to significantly reduce the chances of developing diseases, but new research has shown that healthy vision may be important in staving off dementia.
According to a report carried out by experts in Canada, having a regular full-body check-up which includes an eye examination can go a long way towards preventing dementia, or at least delaying the onset of it.
The experts analysed dementia patients to see if they also suffered from any other conditions, including arthritis, bone fractures, incontinence, poor eyesight and hearing, sinus trouble and skin problems.
They found that a normal person"s chances of developing Alzheimer"s and other problems increased by three per cent if they had one of these conditions, with people who suffered from 12 of the various health issues having a 40 per cent chance of developing dementia.
Dr Kenneth Rockwood, a professor of geriatric medicine and neurology at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, told Time that the findings highlight how it is vital to have regular eye check-ups and other health checks to identify disease.
"It"s worthwhile maintaining good health, because that will be associated with a lower risk of developing problems with your brain, particularly Alzheimer"s disease and other dementias. It"s worth people doing what they can to stay in the best health they can," he explained.
Meanwhile, Dr Marie Jackson, who took part in the research, said it is well known that people with reduced fitness and mobility are "significantly" more likely to develop Alzheimer"s, so it is important to try to maintain fitness and health.
Meanwhile, Rebecca Wood, from Alzheimer"s Research UK, said the study has turned up some "intriguing and unexpected results", and speculated whether follow-up studies have similar findings.
It"s too soon to know for sure whether health problems like these increase our risk of dementia, but it"s certainly sensible advice for us to do what we can to keep in good general health.
by Emily Tait