6 Ways to Reduce your Risk for Dementia
The number of people living with dementia is rising as the population ages. Memory loss, confusion, and the inability to do daily tasks are just a few of the symptoms that go under the general term “dementia.”
The most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, involves a steady deterioration in brain health. Age is the biggest risk factor for dementia. Nearly one-third of those over 85 have dementia. Genetic factors also contribute to the development of the illness, although they are more significant in uncommon forms of dementia like early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Although research has shown that lifestyle modifications can greatly lower the risk, dementia is not always avoidable.
What are the Causes of Dementia?
Age and a family history of dementia, both raise the risk for dementia development. Other significant risk factors are poor heart health, untreated high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.
Dementia risk can also be increased by traumatic brain damage, such as that sustained in a car accident, a fall, or an athletic competition. Wearing a seat belt while driving or riding in a car, as well as wearing a helmet when participating in contact sports or riding a bike, may not be cool, but they might very well save your life and prolong the quality of your latter years.
Tips to Reduce the Risk of Dementia
Although we can’t change our age or genetic profile, there are nevertheless several lifestyle changes we can make that will reduce our dementia risk.
Engage in Mentally Stimulating Activity
Education is an important factor in dementia risk. Dementia risk increases for people with fewer than 10 years of formal schooling. The biggest risk is posed to those who never finish high school.
The good news is that we may maintain brain health at any age by achieving at work and engaging in leisure activities like reading newspapers, playing cards, or picking up a new language skill, or, hobby.
Staying socially engaged with friends, family, colleagues, or others. More frequent social contact (such as visiting friends and relatives or talking on the phone) has been linked to lower risk of dementia, while loneliness may increase it.
A decreased risk is linked to a higher engagement in group or community activities. It’s interesting to note that having frequent contact with people is more important than the size of your buddy group. Many older adults continue to work far after the typical retirement age, and many retirees volunteer to keep active.
It has been demonstrated that exercise can help to prevent cognitive aging. When data from more than 33,000 individuals were analyzed, those who engaged in intense physical activity had a 38% reduced risk of cognitive deterioration than those who did not.
The exact amount of exercise required to preserve cognition is still up for discussion. The sessions should last at least 45 minutes and be of moderate to high intensity, according to a recent analysis of research looking at the impact of engaging in exercise for at least four weeks. This means huffing and puffing and finding it difficult to maintain a conversation.
Be Heart Healthy
Heart and brain health are strongly intertwined. Dementia risk is increased by high blood pressure and obesity, particularly in middle age. These ailments could account for more than 12% of dementia cases when taken together.
According to a study that examined information from over 40,000 individuals, type 2 diabetics had a two-to-one chance of developing dementia compared to healthy individuals. To lower the risk of dementia, it is essential to treat or reverse these diseases using medication, diet changes, and/or regular exercise.
The chemicals in cigarettes cause inflammation and vascular abnormalities in the brain, and smoking is bad for your heart. Remember, anything that constricts blood vessels to make your heart and lungs work harder is bad for your brain.
Another reason to give up smoking for good is that present smokers are more likely to develop dementia than former smokers or non-smokers.
Stress is a normal part of life, but when it lasts for an extended period of time, it can lead to vascular changes and chemical imbalances that harm the brain and other cells in your body.
You can boost your brain health and lessen your chances of dementia by controlling or reducing your stress.
Get the Help you Need with Thrive USA Homecare
Making a doctor’s visit should be your first move if you have any concerns. Your doctor may evaluate your symptoms, medical background, and current prescriptions, as well as pay attention to your concerns, so you can receive the support you need.
A professionally trained caregiver may assist with services relating to daily living tasks, including companionship and safety monitoring, as well as any potential needs for personal care. This is true whether a dementia diagnosis is ultimately established for any reason, whether it is reversible or nonreversible.
Thrive USA Homecare also has several online articles on issues related to dementia and Alzheimer’s and the conditions and symptoms that can occur.
For more information or to arrange a free in-home assessment, get in touch with Thrive USA if you live in Maryland or the District of Columbia.
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