Dementia is caused by damage to the brain – and it affects approximately 50 million people in the world.
The condition, which is sometimes a result of Alzheimer’s disease, tends to come with disorientating symptoms.
Memory loss, struggles communicating, difficulty concentrating and mood changes are among the side-effects listed by the NHS.
So how can you tell if you’re at risk of the disease?
GPs use various before making diagnoses, from mental ability tests to brain scans.
According to a recent US study, you can also carry out a simple test to see if you could be vulnerable to the condition.
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A North Dakota State University study showed that lacking in hand-grip strength can be an early sign of cognitive problems.
Research showed risk of severe cognitive development increased by 18% for each 5kg fall in grip strength.
Following the findings, study author Professor Ryan McGrath said the simple test could be used when assessing older patients.
“It’s a simple, noninvasive measure — just grasping and squeezing”, he told Healthline.
Doctors who carry out the test do so with the help of a dynamometer.
But as most of us won’t have this equipment at home, you can carry out a similar test of your own by following these steps:
1. Place some weighing scales beneath a pull-up bar
2. Set a timer to five seconds, stand on the scale and make a note of your weight
3. Use your hands to pull upwards, which should take some of your weight off the scales
4. Get a friend to read what the weight is now
5. Calculate your grip strength is by subtracting the second reading from your current weight
While men should have a grip strength of around 105 and above, women are advised to check for 57, The Sun reports.
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While this test could tell you a little about your dementia risk, it shouldn’t be relied upon.
Those with a poor grip strength won’t necessarily develop the condition, while those on the other end of the scale aren’t immune from brain problems.
If you have any worries about dementia, visit your GP for advice.
You can also check out the NHS website for more advice.
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