One in three people in the world is affected by a neurological disorder and it is the leading cause of disability
As every Friday, July 22, we celebrate the world brain day. And this year, under the motto brain health for all The aim is to raise awareness of the importance of the health of the brain, the most complex organ of the human being, and to educate about the prevention of neurological diseases.
According to figures from the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN), we are talking about diseases with a high prevalence.
so much that one in three people in the world is affected by a neurological disorder. And therefore It is the leading cause of disability and the second of mortality..
As he explains in ‘Health Guides’, the Dr Jose Miguel LainezPresident of the SEN,:
- “The population has a very low awareness of neurological diseases, although they affect more than 15% of people.”
In Spain, this type of pathology is also at the top of the ranking of incidence, mortality and/or disability.
More than 7 million Spaniards are affected by a neurological disease. And so we find that stroke is the second leading cause of death in our country.
The latest data show that the annual incidence of stroke is 187.4 cases per 100,000 population. This means that every year there are more than 70,000 new cases. And they can be avoided.
The doctor emphasizes that neurological diseases, including strokes, do not include age groups, gender or socioeconomic status and that the important thing is “to adopt healthy brain habits such as avoiding smoking, hypertension, depression, physical and mental inactivity”.
Also “diabetes, alcohol consumption or air pollution contribute to increasing the prevalence and progression of many neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or epilepsy”.
Controlling risk factors, key to avoiding strokes
Although it does not affect men and women in the same way (it is the first cause of death for them), it manifests itself by the same symptoms:
- Weakness of a part of the body
- Difficulty walking or talking.
It is a cerebrovascular disease that affects the blood vessels of the brain.
And statistics indicate that one in six people may suffer a stroke in their lifetime. But how can we avoid it?
- Balanced diet. Low in salt and saturated fat, without neglecting adequate protein and calorie intake.
- Physical exercise. A sedentary lifestyle is associated with obesity, hypertension or increased cholesterol. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends physical activity between 150 and 300 minutes. “People with an insufficient level of physical activity have a 20-30% increased risk of death compared to people who achieve an adequate level of physical activity.”
- Obesity. It is closely linked to high blood pressure, diabetes and increased cholesterol and, therefore, the development of cardiovascular disease.
- Blood pressure. As already mentioned, hypertension is the most important and vital risk factor. In most cases there is no specific cause (95%), as there may be a family predisposition, due to high stress levels, diabetes or age.
- Diabetes. This disease damages the arteries and increases the risk of suffering a stroke.
- the tobacco. It worsens blood circulation and lung capacity.
- Alcohol. Its excessive consumption can cause alcoholic cardiomyopathy (the heart expands and can no longer pump blood normally).
- Control of risk factors.
How to prevent Alzheimer’s disease?
Some 800,000 people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease in Spain. It is one of leading causes of dementia worldwide and the disease that generates the greatest handicap. Each year, 40,000 new cases are diagnosed.
However, an estimated 80% are still undiagnosed. And a healthy lifestyle, says Dr. José Miguel Láinez, “could prevent its occurrence by 50%.”
The Doctor Juan Forteacoordinator of the study group on behavior and dementia of the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN) explains that the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease “increases exponentially from the age of 65”.
- “Given the progressive aging of the Spanish population, the development of health policies aimed at guaranteeing an adequate diagnosis is urgent.”
“It is estimated that half of the cases of Alzheimer’s disease can be attributed to 10 potentially modifiable risk factors:
- Diabetic sugar
- High blood pressure in middle age
- Middle-aged obesity
- Physical inactivity
- The Depression
- cognitive inactivity
- low level of education
- Hearing loss (decreased ability to hear)
- Social isolation”,
Thus, “a reduction of between 10 and 25% in these risk factors could potentially prevent between 1 and 3 million cases of Alzheimer’s worldwide”.