Official NHS advice on prevention of dementia warns ‘there is no safe level of alcohol consumption’ which does not increase risk of the condition and health watchdogs have said middle-aged people should go teetotal to reduce the risk of dementia.
Guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence on how to protect against the condition suggests that even drinking within Government safe limits can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The new advice says the public should be advised that there is “no safe level of alcohol consumption” and calls on GPs to tackle the middle-aged about lifestyle behaviours linked to the condition.
Research has found that one-third of all Alzheimer’s disease cases can be linked to lifestyle factors such as exercise, obesity, smoking and alcohol. Current Government advice, which is under review, suggests women can drink two to three units of alcohol a day (one 175ml glass of wine) and men three units, without compromising their health.
The new Nice advice says drinking any alcohol can increase the risk of dementia, disability and frailty, advising GPs that people should be encouraged to reduce the amount they drink as much as possible. It suggests Britain’s social norms when it comes to alcohol need to be challenged.
The guidance says that drinking alcohol daily at home has become normal for some people, and this poses a threat to health.
The recommendations for the NHS and local councils also calls for sweeping changes in the way public spaces are governed, in a bid to reduce rates of smoking. It calls for smoke-free policies to be expanded to cover public parks and open-air markets.
Last year new figures revealed twice as many cases of early dementia as was thought.