The medical field’s knowledge on dementia is allowing us to look into how to prevent it naturally. In the past, the illness was perceived as something that only elderly patients would get. It still is more common for someone of an older age to suffer from Alzheimer’s and eventually dementia. However, we now know that lifestyle decisions contribute to the risk of getting dementia. It’s important to consider the health and lifestyle decisions you are making now and how they will impact you in your later years.
What Causes Dementia?
Dementia damage occurs to the brain cells. It slows down many of the cognitive capabilities as well as your ability to function by yourself or as you would have in the past. Because it is affecting your brain, it has a significant change in your personality and behavior, including your emotions and how you treat your family and friends.
It’s a difficult disease for the patient and their families because it can be a slow process with challenges along the way. One of the most difficult challenges is when the person forgets their family and close friends. This type of memory loss can be temporary at first and then more permanent as the disease progresses.
Currently, there is no treatment to cure dementia or Alzheimer’s. However, scientists believe there are ways to help people avoid it. After research and studies, they say natural lifestyle changes that we can make to ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life. Here are seven ways to reduce your risk of dementia.
1. Identify Depression
Leaving depression untreated is a big risk that can lead to dementia disease. Studies show that there is a correlation between people who have depression and then later develop dementia. The same types of cognitive issues lie in both diseases. Things like attention span, organization, and memory are all functions in the brain that are changed with both depressions and dementia. Treating depression is one of the ways to reduce your risk of developing dementia later in life.
2. Eat Better and Healthier Foods
When you are overweight, it makes you an easy target for diseases. What you eat affects every part of your body, including the head that houses your brain. Certain foods that may help prevent dementia are:
- Less meat
- No sugar
- No foods with saturated fat
Basing a diet on these food groups can help you live a healthier lifestyle and possibly present dementia. Foods that you should avoid:
- High cholesterol foods
- Fatty foods
These types of foods can raise your blood pressure and bring various health concerns.
3. Maintain Regular Exercise
Getting physical is important for your entire health. Exercise has been known to reduce many different t diseases, including dementia and Alzheimer’s. Physical activities to prevent dementia could be anything as long as your heart rate rises for at least ten minutes.
You could dance around in your kitchen for ten minutes a day or walk around the block. Play a game of basketball with your kid or go for a swim. The imperative thing is to get up and move. It supports a healthy mind and heart.
4. Notice High Blood Pressure
Hypertension is a precursor for having a stroke, as well as Alzheimer’s. While it is not completely understood how high blood pressure affects the cognitive parts of the brain, there is a correlation. Be mindful of your high blood pressure and make sure that you make necessary life changes or take proper medication to control it.
5. Read and Learn
Keeping your brain active is one of the best ways to combat dementia. When you are reading and learning new things, you are making your brain work, which means it doesn’t have the chance to slow down. That’s exactly what you need to do to reduce the risk of a disease like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Things like word searches and crossword puzzles all make your cognitive functions strong. You could also consider challenging your mind in other ways, such as taking a course online or in person. The important thing is for you to make your brain work towards something every day to maintain its strength.
6. Don’t Smoke
Smoking is always an unhealthy choice. There is no benefit to any part of your health. However, most people would be shocked to know that smoking correlates with a risk of getting Alzheimer’s and dementia. If you are a smoker, consider reaching out to your doctor for help quitting.
7. Manage Diabetes
Treatments for diabetes and the overall disease, in general, are key factors to the poor brain and cognitive operation. Some even call Alzheimer’s type 3 diabetes, though doctors don’t recognize that name until there is more research and proven facts on this.
So far, studies indicate a 65% increase in the risk of getting Alzheimer’s for those who have diabetes versus those who don’t. The whole dilemma with diabetes is how it affects your insulin intake. For type 1 diabetes, your body is taking in too much insulin, while type 2 is the opposite in that the body is not taking in enough. With the disease of Alzheimer’s, there seems to be an aligning instance with insulin, yet instead of attacking the entire body, it only hurts parts of the brain.
Here are some other tips:
Make sure you are getting enough sleep every night. If possible, try to stick to a sleep schedule. Insomnia is another risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s. You need to have an uninterrupted sleep to give your brain the proper rest.
Staying social is a great way to protect against Alzheimer’s. Studies are hailing the cognitive benefits of having a social life when you get older. So, find a club to join to make new friends or get together with the old ones.
You can reduce the risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s right now with the decisions you make while you are younger. Everything you do today affects your future as you move into old age. If you or someone you love is struggling with dementia, contact us today to learn more about our available resources.