British actress Carey Mulligan has spoken out about the traumatic effects of Alzheimer’s disease on her life and is appealing for more awareness about the degenerative condition.
The 26-year-old Oscar-nominated actress, who has been named the Alzheimer’s Society's newest ambassador during Dementia Awareness Week, has revealed that her grandmother Margaret suffers from the condition.
After witnessing her grandmother’s struggle with the disease for the past eight years, Mulligan decided to speak out.
Mulligan says: “I am committed to helping Alzheimer's Society in any way I can. My family and I rely on the help of organisations like Alzheimer's Society to help us understand the disease and guide us in the care of my grandmother. It's been a privilege to meet so many people with dementia.”
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A recent study by the Alzheimer’s Society and Saga Homecare revealed that nearly two thirds of Brits know someone with dementia and 63% of people have concerns about the condition.
The survey also revealed that those aged 18 to 24 are more likely to want to know about about the condition rather than people aged 55 and over, who are more at risk.
Mulligan hopes that her involvement will help raise awareness among younger people, who increasingly want to know more.
“Because they have their family members being affected they want to know more, to understand it and find a way to cure it or find ways to prevent it,” Mulligan told the BBC.
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It's estimated there are around 800,000 people with dementia in the UK, with the number set to rise to more than one million by 2021 - soaring to 1.7 million by 2050.
Andrew Chidgey from the Alzheimer's Society says, despite popular belief, contracting condition is not entirely determined by your genes.
"If both parents have had dementia, people are bound to worry about developing the condition too."
"But while there are a number of genes that have been linked to Alzheimer's disease, it is important to remember that they only increase your risk of developing it by a small amount," Chidgey told HuffPost Lifestyle.
"To reduce your risk of developing dementia take regular exercise, don't smoke, maintain a healthy weight and eat a Mediterranean diet, high in antioxidants and oily fish. We urge anyone who is concerned about their memory to visit their GP."