Tips To Lower The Risk Of Developing Dementia

Dementia is an umbrella term for a set of symptoms such as loss of the ability to carry out day-to-day activities, confusion and memory impairment. Statistics show that dementia is well on its way to hit endemic levels with over 47 million people around the world diagnosed with the condition. The condition is one of the major concerns many of us have as we enter sunset years. 2 in 100 seniors aged 65-69 years have dementia. Doctors and health experts around the globe have been actively involved in the studying and researching on various techniques and measures which could be taken to curb the development of the condition.

Just like any other chronic conditions, a lot of factors contribute to the development of dementia; the major ones being age, genetics, lifestyle, environment, and co-existing medical conditions. Although some risk factors like your genetics and age are out of your control, others like lack of exercise can be changed to help minimize risk. A study pointed out that by identifying and reducing at least 9 risk factors, you benefit from reducing your risk of dementia by over 30 percent.

Can Alzheimer’s be Prevented?

This is a question that continually intrigues researchers and inspires new researches. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia responsible for progressive decline in brain health. There is no pharmaceutical cure for dementia yet. It is a condition nobody wants to get. Substantial proof on factors which help reduce the risk are yet to be found. Recommendations have been made, though not enough evidence to support them has been provided. This, however, doesn’t totally rule out the significance of these recommendations.

Encouraging findings have been established with researchers predicting promising results based on data from the assessments. Dementia is normally diagnosed later in life, and is normally considered as an old person’s disease. Brain changes related to the condition generally start to develop long before the symptoms become apparent. This means that now is the best time to start living a brain-healthy lifestyle. Doctors have recommended some tips to lower the risk of developing dementia. The recommendations focus on four major areas: physical fitness, diet, cardiovascular health and mind fitness.

4 Best Ways to Fight Dementia

  1. Be Physically Active

Being physically active by engaging yourself in exercises is one of the best ways of preventing dementia, experts say. Exercises directly benefit the body, and brain particularly in a number of ways among them increasing blood flow to the brain. It is essential that you try out exercises that suit you best. Start small and gradually build your way up. In no time, you will be have no problems engaging in more complex activities. It is recommended that you consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise plan.

A small study to establish the benefits of exercises in relation to controlling dementia was conducted and its findings published. 38 old people who were diagnosed with the disease were chosen.  They were subjected to one-hour walks three times a week. Within 6 months of the study, these people were found to have a lower blood pressure and improved brain power. This evidently proved the effectiveness of exercises to manage  dementia.

Health experts recommend 2 options when it comes to aerobic activities. You are free to choose either of the options, depending on your preference:

  • 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. These include riding a bicycle, walking or light activities such as pushing a lawn mower.
  • 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. These include running, swimming or visiting the gym.

You are, however, not limited to these options. Constantly engage yourself in activities which help build the muscle. Take part in games like football and netball, do simple exercises like push-ups and sit-ups or take time to work in the garden. All these activities have a positive impact to your brain health.

  1. Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is essential if you want to lower the risk of developing dementia. Amongst the diets being studied, the Mediterranean Diet gives promising benefits and is a top priority in preventing dementia. Basically, a good diet to lower the risk of developing dementia focuses on specific nutrients provided by specific foods .The diet should comprise the following:

  • Red meat.
  • Fish and chicken, twice a week. Intake of other proteins like eggs and beans is also encouraged.
  • Using herbs as a flavor or as an alternative to salt.
  • Grains, fruits and vegetables in huge amounts. Studies show that intake of these foods slow down attacks by age-related diseases.
  • Using healthy fats like olive oil and nuts instead of saturated fats like butter.
  • Fruits and vegetables, taken at least 5 portions in a day.
  • Limit the intake of sugar and be on the look-out for hidden salts.
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily.

Healthy foods means healthy lives. Consider the above mentioned foods in order to prevent dementia. Keep off junks and foods rich in saturated fats. These limit a clear circulation of blood towards the heart and brain.

  1. Cardiovascular Health

Circulation of blood to the brain is important for its functioning. A healthy cardiovascular system is heavily reliant on blood vessels responsible for circulating vital nutrients and oxygen effectively throughout the body. Depriving the brain sufficient supply of blood through the vessels limits its function. It kills the cells and raises the chances of you contracting Lewy body dementia, a condition that results in a decline in mental abilities. Amongst the methods of preventing this is by abstaining yourself from the intake of alcohol and smoking. Smoking does not only increase your risk of developing dementia but also other conditions such as stroke, diabetes and lung cancer. Alcohol also does the same with liver cirrhosis. The maximum intake of alcohol ought to be 14 units a week. If this amount is to be reached, then it would be wise to spread them over at least three days.

What tips could you use to stop smoking?

  • Turn to less harmful alternatives such as gums, e cigarettes and lozenges.
  • Consult with your pharmacist on the different ways of how to stop smoking.
  • Seek out the services of NHS Smoke-free support services.
  • Create resolutions and use them as barriers of smoking.

The following tips may be used to help you stop drinking alcohol:

  • Keep track of your drinking levels and set a limit.
  • Consider using alcohol-free drinks.
  • Regularly alternate between alcohol and soft drinks.
  • Look for things that motivate you to stop drinking. You could add abstaining from alcohol in the New Year’s resolution list.
  1. Exercise Your Mind

Keeping your mind busy and distracted is also another technique of reducing the risk of developing dementia. It is astonishing how having negative thoughts and constantly worrying about issues you have no control over kills your brain cells at a rapid rate. Experts say that apart from your body, your brain can also help fight diseases. It all lies with the right mindset. Arm your brain with the ability to cope with dementia by constantly challenging it. Develop a habit that you like that is mentally challenging and healthy too.

Some of the activities you may consider include the following:

  • Choosing a course to study.
  • Learning new languages.
  • Reading and writing challenging books.
  • Doing puzzles, brain teasers, and crosswords.
  • Playing card and board games like chess and checkers.

Talking, socializing and meeting new people are also helpful in the fight against dementia. Engage in new and fun activities that make you socially active and distracted. Join clubs or community groups that engage in different activities. You might also opt to offer voluntary services in the community.

Conclusion

The fight against dementia isn’t easy. It is a chronic disease with fatal results. All hope, however, isn’t lost. With the right mindset and habits, all things are achievable. Numerous researches have been carried out with people diagnosed with dementia used as case studies. The good news? The recommended activities turned out to be viable. The above mentioned techniques are effective in the fight against dementia. Take control of your health and that of your aging loved one today! If you notice yourself or someone you love develop the symptoms of dementia, don’t hesitate to seek out medical assistance.

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