Around 50 million people have dementia worldwide, and Alzheimer’s disease contributes to 60-70% of those cases. So it's no surprise that many of us are frighteningly aware of the potential threat of living with these conditions.

Dementia is a chronic and progressive syndrome with a range of conditions that affect brain function, the most common being Alzheimer’s disease. With dementia, the nerve cells in the brain become damaged, impairing messaging signals to and from the brain.

Every person is unique, and symptoms vary but can include problems with memory and the processing of information, including dates and times, lapses in concentration and focus, and confusion.

Communication can also become difficult; for example, someone may grapple with finding the right words; they might become repetitive and struggle with reading and writing. They may also become depressed and anxious, experience mood swings, lose confidence and become more introverted.

A person with Alzheimer's loses the connections between nerve cells in their brain due to proteins building up and forming plaques and tangles, resulting in nerve cell death and lost brain tissue. Someone with Alzheimer’s also has less chemical messengers in their brain and signalling becomes defective.

While the threat of dementia and Alzheimer’s is very real, here are six things you can do to help reduce your risk of getting them.