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HomeBlogThere’s Still Hope! How you Can Reduce Your Risk for Dementia Today

There’s Still Hope! How you Can Reduce Your Risk for Dementia Today

8/22/2019 | By: Medix Team
There’s Still Hope! How you Can Reduce Your Risk for Dementia Today

Dementia and its effect on our quality of life has been the center of numerous research and studies. Although the conclusions are undecisive, experts agree that a few simple measures could be taken to prevent up to a third of the cases of dementia

Memory loss, confusion, loneliness, communication difficulties, agitation, impaired judgment and decline in physical abilities – these are only some of the symptoms of neuropsychiatric illness that are grouped together under the general term Dementia. These illnesses drastically affect the quality of life, not only for patients, but also for people close to them, as caring for Dementia patients is often an exasperating task both mentally and physically.

 

In 2015 it was estimated that approximately 23 million people suffer from Dementia in the Asia–Pacific region alone, and the number is expected to rise to 71 million by 2050. Dementia is considered to be one of the worst phenomena of the 21st century due to the burden it causes – socially, communally and economically. This predicted increase is the result of higher life expectancy and an estimated increase in population growth. Accordingly, universities and research facilities are focusing their efforts on understanding Dementia better, and at the same time exploring the ways to prevent and delay its progress.

 

Research has shown that up to a third of the cases of Dementia expected to develop can be prevented. So, what does science have to say on the measures we can take to lower our chances of developing Dementia?

 

Keep yourself intellectually stimulated

Researchers who’ve examined the risk factors for Dementia discovered that people who hold only elementary level education are at a greater risk. The general assumption is that higher education leads to intellectual stimulation, which in turn assists in creating additional neuron connections in the brain. These connections are used as “reservoir” that protects the brain from degradation and decrease the chances for the onset of Dementia.

 

Therefore, to reduce the risk, it is important to gain a broad education. Even after graduation, it is still important to maintain intellectual stimulation. Examples of such stimulation can be reading on a regular basis or listening to lectures that could fuel the brain and create a “protective reservoir” that may protect it from deterioration.

 

Maintain low blood pressure, physical activity and a healthy diet

The narrowing of blood vessels in the brain was also found to be a risk factor for Dementia. People who suffered from head trauma (that could lead to edema and skull deformities, creating pressure on the brain arterioles), as well as patients suffering from high blood pressure, are considered to be at risk – and require routine follow up in order to rule out possible disease onset.

 

Recognising the risk factors is crucial in order to diagnose and track the disease at its infancy, and to have the best chances for treatment and slowing its progress.

Diabetes patients were also found to be at a higher risk for Dementia due to two main factors: one, high glucose levels in the blood lead to plaques that induce atherosclerosis; and two, uneven glucose provisions to the brain (due to hypoglycemia, common among medically treated diabetic patients) may lead to toxicity that disrupts neurons.

 

Therefore, one of the most important recommendations for reducing the likelihood of Dementia includes maintaining a balanced diet and a healthy weight, even among non-diabetics. It was found that a Mediterranean diet – rich in fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables – is effective in assisting to maintain a healthy weight and low blood pressure and is therefore recommended.

 

Physical activity in old age is also considered to be helpful in slowing disease progression, as well as being a preventive factor – even among those who are genetically prone to develop Dementia. A sedentary lifestyle, on the other-hand, may lead to cardiovascular diseases that may induce Dementia. The good news is, it’s never too late to start being active.

 

Be socially active

Another risk factor that is also attributed to the development of Dementia is social isolation. With fewer enriching and challenging human interactions, the chances of experiencing mental decline are higher. Therefore, it is recommended to keep social activities and continue to develop new interactions throughout old age. Research discovered that there is no correlation between the satisfaction from an interaction and the benefit and protection it provides. Consequently, even a mundane conversation with a shopkeeper or an annoying neighbor could yield the desired outcomes and stimulate the brain.

 

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Currently, there are more questions than answers when it comes to Dementia. However, it is already clear that the fight against the disease and deterioration starts at a young age, and it is one we have to carry out throughout our lives. The more active we keep our bodies, the more stimulated we keep our brains and the less physical harm and deterioration we experience – the lower are our chances to develop Dementia as we grow older.



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