How Can You Prevent Dementia from Progressing?
For people who have witnessed a loved one affected by dementia, developing Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia is one of the biggest concerns.
While there is no certain way to prevent all types of dementia, there are some strategies to keep your brain and body healthy and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and some other forms of dementia. Research shows that you can reduce the risk of this degenerative disease by identifying and controlling your personal risk factors and leading a healthy lifestyle.
Through a combination of helpful lifestyle changes, you can prevent the symptoms of dementia and slow down the process of deterioration.
In addition, healthy habits such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, and quality sleep can also prevent cardiovascular disease (stroke and heart attacks), which is itself a risk factor for vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, the most common forms of dementia.
Risk Factors for Dementia
The most common factors that increase your likelihood of developing dementia involve age, genes and family history, mild cognitive impairment, alcohol and smoking, and certain health conditions (diabetes, atherosclerosis, etc.).
However, recent research indicates that other factors such as untreated depression, loneliness, and social isolation, and a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to an increased risk of developing dementia later in life.
How to Reduce the Risk of Dementia?
According to research, by changing the risk factors you are able to manipulate, your risk of dementia could be reduced by up to 30 percent. These risk factors include regular exercise, a healthy diet, and a healthy weight, good sleep, mental stimulation, social engagement, and stress management.
- Regular Physical Exercise
Research shows that regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing dementia and slow further deterioration if you already have cognitive problems. regular physical activity protects you from Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia by stimulating the brain’s plasticity, allowing it to make new neural connections and maintain the existing ones. Activities such as walking, swimming, yoga, jogging, or cycling are great regardless of your fitness level.
- A Healthy Diet
Research suggests a strong link between metabolic disorders and brain disorders. For instance, in Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation, and insulin resistance harm neurons and restrict communication between them.
What you can do to protect your brain?
Cut down on sugary foods such and refined carbs such as white sugar, white flour, white rice, and pasta. Instead, enjoy a diet rich in healthy omega-3 fats, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil, also known as a Mediterranean diet. Studies show that eating this diet significantly reduces the risk of cognitive damage.
Keep your weight in check, as obesity can increase your blood pressure and risk of type 2 diabetes, both of which increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.
Avoid alcohol and smoking as excessive drinking and smoking cigarettes increases the risk of stroke, and heart disease, atherosclerosis, as well as the damage to the nervous system.
- Sleep, Socialization, and Cognitive Training
Studies show that poor sleep patterns can contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Also, as human beings, we strive to contact and social stimulation. Staying socially active may protect you against dementia later in life, so make sure to stay engaged in your community and social circles.
A growing body of research shows that challenging your brain through life can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Learning new things, play puzzles, riddles, and strategy games, and practice memorizing techniques, as practicing these simple brain exercises will boost the brain plasticity and flexibility and cut the risk of dementia.