Dementia is a brain disorder. It is understood as a neurodegenerative ailment that takes a heavy toll on your cognitive well-being. In most case of dementia, it is common to suffer from a memory loss among other symptoms.
Essentially, there are several types of dementia. The most common one of these is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s contributes to 60-80% of all the dementia cases, which is why it is frequently used interchangeably with dementia. In fact, most people mistake Alzheimer’s for dementia. In reality though, Alzheimer’s is the major type of dementia.
Some cases of the degenerative brain ailment can be reversed. Most cases, however, are not treatable such as Alzheimer’s diseases. Besides being untreatable, dementia can make one’s life miserable, making the patient entirely dependent on his/her caretakers.
You can make some lifestyle changes that can help slash the risk of dementia though. So, in a sense, you can work to save yourself from the cognitive disease. In this regard, here are some ways to help cut down your odds of developing dementia:
1. Avoid brain trauma or injury
Over the years, research has noted that moderate to severe traumatic brain injury can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia types. The most common type of brain injury happens in the event of falling down.
Other common causes of brain injury include sports injuries and vehicular accidents. Essentially, anything that jolts your brain violently can chip in traumatic brain injury. Therefore, take the steps to reduce your risk of injury.
If you suffer from mobility issues, use a walker to move around and lessen the risk. Similarly, don’t do any household works that amplify your odds of injury such as changing the lightbulb.
2. Quit smoking
Smoking comes in the company of several health concerns. These start from problems for your lungs and go on to multiply your risk of dementia as well. Plus, your risk of developing conditions such as stroke, cancers, and diabetes type II also go up.
Basically, smoking culminates in substantial harm to the blood circulating around your body. This harm includes blood vessel, heart, as well as lung damage. All this amps up the risk of smoking.
3. Maintain a healthy weight
Recent research agrees that obesity can significantly increase the risk of dementia. Studies indicate that maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent dementia. Or, at the very least, it can help delay the cognitive ailment.
The underlying cause is straight-forward. Being obese or overweight can increase blood pressure. It can also increase your risk of diabetes type II. Both of these factors correlate with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia (another type of dementia).
Therefore, work out, eat healthy, and take whatever measures to maintain a healthy weight. Don’t forget to keep tabs on your weight. Losing just 5 to 10% of the excess weight can aid in declining your risk of dementia.
4. Maintain heart health
Eating healthy and exercising are two ways to improve your heart’s health. In general, it is critical to maintain your heart’s health. Besides, if you have had a stroke before, then you need to be more careful about your health.
This is because stroke can swell the risk of developing vascular dementia. Vascular dementia occurs when the blood flow to the brain is hindered drastically such as in the case of a stroke. This is the reason why research outlines that people with a stroke have 9 times the likelihood of developing dementia than those without a stroke.
Roughly 1 in 4 people who have a stroke develop dementia within a year. Therefore, you need to be more concerned about dementia if you are already a victim of vascular diseases.
5. Eat healthily
Consuming a healthy and nourishing diet is another lifestyle change that can assist you in bringing down your risk of dementia. A balanced diet also lowers your risk of diabetes type II, obesity, cancer, and heart diseases including stroke in addition to cutting the odds of having dementia.
To this end, increase the intake of fruits and vegetables. Take at least five portions of these in a day. Consume more protein. Take them for a minimum of two times in a week from sources such as eggs, meat, oily fish, pulses, beans, and so on.
At the same time, limit the intake of starchy foods such as potatoes, pasta, and break. Also, cut down your sugar consumption as well as the hidden salt in your diet. Sugar can increase your risk of diabetes type II, which adds to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Salt, on the flip side, affects your heart health, which also antes up the risk of dementia. Don’t forget to take 6-8 glasses of fluid daily from sources such as low-fat milk, sugar-free beverages, and water. Remember that diet plans such as the Mediterranean diet are great for brain health.
6. Consume less alcohol
Work to lower your intake of alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of dementia. At the same time, it can also amp up your vulnerability to some cancers, stroke, heart disease, and damage to the nervous system including the brain.
You should not drink more than 14 units in a week. Additionally, try to spread this intake over three days weekly rather than all at once in a week. Drinking excessive alcohol, which is greater than 14 units, chips in alcohol-related brain damage.
If you working toward make this lifestyle change, then you can start by setting up a drinking limit for yourself. You should also try to take alcohol-free or low-alcohol drinks.
7. Increase physical activity
Exercise is another factor that can substantially lower your risk of developing dementia. It improves blood circulation, carrying more blood to the brain so that it is well-nourished and gets more oxygen. This lowers inflammation, which is a master at damaging the brain.
Plus, a lack of physical activity can swell the risk of becoming obese or overweight, heart disease, and diabetes type II. All these conditions are risk factors for the degenerative disease.
If you are physically inactive, start with 10 minutes of daily physical activity. Go on to improve your activity from the point onward. On a regular note, aim for either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity.
Some of the moderate intensity exercise includes a brisk walk, pushing a lawnmower, biking, and so on. On the flip side, vigorous activity entails fast swimming, jogging, and riding a bike up a hill.
Also punch in some resistance exercises that strengthen your muscles. Practice these twice a week, for instance, practice sit-ups or push-ups or dig the garden.
8. Challenge your mind
Lastly, you should work to challenge your mind as well. Mentally challenging your brain helps to keep your mind active. It can also help to cope with the ailment. Therefore, you should work to exercise your mind.
Do anything that can challenge your brain. For instance, solve puzzles, quizzes, or crosswords. Play board games, or card games. You can learn a language and take a new course. Challenge yourself to write or books as well.
On top of all of this, communication and maintaining a healthy social life also helps to lower your dementia. Loneliness and isolation can increase your odds of dementia. Therefore, make an effort to keep yourself socially active as well.