Mind

Are you at risk of the common condition killing more Australian women than breast cancer?

The symptoms can be so subtle and non-immediate.

By Ellie McDonald

New statistics published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed that heart disease is no longer the leading cause of deaths for Aussie women. Rather, dementia is now responsible for taking the lives of thousands of women across the country.

Dementia, a term that groups together illness that cause a person’s thinking, functioning and behaviour to decline, is not one to discriminate; while the risk of getting dementia increases as you age, those aged between 40 and 60 can still develop younger-onset dementia.

The (very small) silver lining? As reported by The Guardian, the ABS’ director of health and vital statistics James Eynstone-Hinkins explains that this is because the nation’s fight against cardiovascular diseases has proven to work.

“Improvements in treatments and prevention of heart disease have contributed to increased life expectancy, but this has also led to increased deaths from conditions such as dementia which affect predominantly very elderly Australians,” he says.

Currently, there are more than 413,000 Australians living with dementia and, according to Fight Dementia, without a medical breakthrough, it is estimated that the number of people diagnosed with dementia will rise to 1,100,890 by 2056.

Treating dementia

As Better Health Victoria point out, early diagnosis is key in preparing dementia patients and their families for what’s to come and planning for the future.

As previously reported by Now To Love, doctors and scientists are working hard to find a solution that will prevent the onset of dementia types like Alzheimer’s disease.

In June, researchers discovered that consuming one to three glasses of bubbly a week may, in fact, help their fight.

The researchers at the University of Reading found that the phenolic compounds present in both pinot noir and pinot meuniere – two of the grapes used to make champagne - had the ability to increase spatial memory, improve cognitive function and promote learning and memory retention.

Though the results of the experiment were sound, the study was performed on a small scale of rodents, and while we love an excuse to have a toast just as much as the next person, more research will need to be conducted.

If you, or someone you know, would like to learn more about dementia or showing early signs of dementia, book an appointment with your GP to talk it out, then visit the Fight Dementia website or call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 for support.