THURSDAY, April 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A healthy lifestyle in older adults is associated with longer life expectancy and with an increased proportion of remaining years lived without Alzheimer dementia, according to a study published online April 13 in The BMJ.

Klodian Dhana, M.D., Ph.D., from the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging in Chicago, and colleagues conducted a prospective cohort study involving 2,449 men and women aged 65 years and older to examine the impact of lifestyle factors on life expectancy among those with and without Alzheimer dementia. A healthy lifestyle score was developed based on five modifiable lifestyle factors: a diet for brain health, late-life cognitive activities, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, no smoking, and light-to-moderate alcohol consumption.

The researchers found that compared with women aged 65 years with zero or one healthy factor, those with four or five healthy factors had a life expectancy of 24.2 years and lived 3.1 years longer. Women with four to five healthy factors spent 10.8 percent of their remaining years with Alzheimer dementia compared with 19.3 percent for women with zero or one healthy factor. For women aged 65 years, life expectancy without Alzheimer dementia was 21.5 and 17.0 years with four or five versus zero or one healthy factors, respectively. The findings were similar for men aged 65 years.

“Promoting greater engagement in healthy lifestyles may increase dementia-free life years — by delaying the onset of dementia without extending life years spent with dementia,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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