Dementia is a general term which includes various conditions like memory loss, and other cognitive issues which significantly impede the everyday life.
It can occur in various forms, such as vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. The most common type which occurs in about 60-80% of cases is Alzheimer’s disease.
If the cause is not treatable, dementia can be progressive. Symptoms including depression, apathy, and difficulty remembering recent conversations, names and events can worsen over time. Some risk factors for dementia can be prevented, while others cannot.
Risk factors that can be controlled include:
– Poor diet and vitamin deficiencies
– Use of medication that contributes to dementia
– Impaired thyroid function
– Cardiovascular risks including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes
– Low physical activity
– Alcohol use
– Head injuries
We recommend 9 ways to lower the risk of dementia:
1. Don’t Smoke
According to one study, smoking was associated with a doubling of the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. There seems to be an interaction between smoking and genotype in the aetiology of Alzheimer’s disease. Also the fact that smoking contributes to oxidative stress and inflammation, which highly affects the brain.
According to WebMD: “…smoking more than two packs of cigarettes daily from age 50 to 60 increases risk of dementia later in life.” They later go on to say that former smokers, or individuals who smoked less than half a pack a day, had almost no risk of developing dementia.
2. Be active
For strong vascular system, boost the blood flow and pumping of heart. Workout daily to prevent other chronic issues and try to do it at least 30 min daily.
3. Vitamin B
This lowers the molecule homocysteine or HC, damaging the vascular system. When high in levels, it makes risk of strokes, heart issues and vascular problems. Increase more vitamin B to stop cognition and age-related problems.
4. Take Vitamin D
Studies have shown a correlation between low levels of Vitamin D and cognitive decline, leading to symptoms of dementia. Supplementing with Vitamin D can help protect the body against processes that lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The best way to get Vitamin D is through the sun, but taking a supplement might help if you aren’t able to get outside as much as you’d like too. It could also be helpful during the winter months!
5. Challenge Your Brain
Researchers have found that the onset of dementia symptoms is delayed by 5 years by being bilingual, in comparison to elder people who speak only one language.
They state that the brain benefits a lot if you challenge it. Experts have also found that doing crossword puzzles often delays the onset of memory decline by 2.5 years.
6. Prevent Head Injuries
If you are riding a bike, you should wear a helmet, or in the case of water or winter sports, always protect your head in order to prevent head injuries and brain damage.
7. Control Your Alcohol Intake
Studies have shown that people who drink alcohol excessively have the highest risk of developing dementia, compared to those who drink no alcohol or consume moderate amounts of alcohol. Controlling your alcohol intake can help prevent numerous health problems, including dementia.
8. Track Your Numbers
Keep track of your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and weight. Knowing your numbers can help you find a problem early on. Cardiovascular and metabolic health are some of the most important predictors of dementia! Keep your body healthy in order to keep your mind healthy.
9. Keep Socially Active
According to the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Centre in Chicago, frequently spending time with others (such as being apart of a book club or visiting family), will lower your rate of cognitive decline by 70%.
Humans are naturally social creatures, and too much isolation can wear down your brain. To prevent isolation, sign up for a new cooking class, get in touch with old friends, or make new friends by becoming apart of community gatherings.