There are emerging evidence that there are few dementia cases which could be prevented by bringing about the required tweaks to your lifestyle. Walk instead of traveling but a bus, climb the stairs rather than taking the elevator. These are few of the best lifestyle advice you will possibly hear from a doctor for taking care of your general health as an increased activity is good for cardiovascular health. So, the next time you wait at the bus stop, you may wish to think about how you can maintain a healthy brain.
Dementia is a disease that is fast overtaking like cancer that most middle-aged people are scared of the most. As there is no possible cure in sight and a strong sense of fatalism regarding the condition, most seniors are left helpless while thinking of fighting against the disease and preventing it. In fact, there are epidemiologists who are exploring whether or not altering the behavior of the people can delay or prevent the spread and occurrence of the disease.
Is Dementia Preventable?
Simon Ridley, the director of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK referred to a strong body of evidence which suggests that some changeable risk factors can reduce the risk of a person developing this disease. Whatever can be said about the risk factors, it has to be borne in mind that the evidence isn’t as strong as what it should have been. There are ifs and buts and hence it is vital to balance the sense of empowerment by setting realistic expectations.
It is indeed disturbing to know that there are more than 48 million people in the world who are suffering from dementia which is a disease that steals people of their memory, intellectual functioning and personality. This number is all set to triple to 135 million by the time it’s 2050. Whenever this epidemic wave of dementia crashes on the nation, it can have a destabilizing impact on the economies, especially on the middle-income and low-income countries. The cost of home care for dementia sufferers, besides the diminished productivity of the patients, are predicted to be $830 billion in a year which is more than the yearly revenue of Google, Apple and Exxon.
For the 1% of people with Alzheimer’s disease who experience a premature onset and the genetic form of the disease, there isn’t any supporting evidence that modification in their behavior could lessen the risk of the individual. However, for the remaining 99% of the people suffering from Alzheimer’s and those who are suffering from other types of dementia, there is still hope! In 2016, Alzheimer’s Association said that people could control and change their susceptibility of developing cognitive decline and dementia. With daily physical activity and managing the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases, it is possible to bring about a reduction in the risk of cognitive decline.
The Modifiable Risk Factors Associated With Dementia
There are undoubtedly a few lifestyle changes which can reduce the risk of dementia. According to a review by the Lancet, there are 9 possible modifiable risk factors which are related to dementia. Here are few:
- Midlife loss of hearing
- Low level of education
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Being physically inactive
- Type 2 diabetes
- Smoking and
- Social Isolation
It is vital for you to keep in mind that even though you can add up the risk of all the above-listed factors, yet they would just account for 40% of the entire risk of developing dementia. This clearly shows the fact that around 60% of the risk is because of the factors which are not under your control like family history, genetics, and age. If one can act on these risk factors, it could improve their overall mental and physical well-being.
Lifestyle Changes Which Help You Fight Against Dementia
Dementia which comes with age is a rather tough condition to manage and it is even more difficult when it stems from Alzheimer’s. Both the kinds of dementias rob elders of their cognitive functions and their memories but Alzheimer’s often spreads much faster and even at times, it can strike back too early. Around 5 million seniors in the nation suffer from Alzheimer’s and as the generation of baby boomers is gradually reaching retirement, this number is predicted to grow. Scientists reveal that by 2025, as per the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 15 million people will probably be living with this degenerative brain disorder.
Thankfully, there are several types of research which say that by bringing about a few tweaks in their lifestyle, normal people can reduce the risk of dementia. Let’s go through few such changes.
Staying Active Is The Key
As long as preventing memory loss is concerned, there is always a link established between body and mind. There are numerous studies which have proved that people who are physically active are less likely to see a decline in their mental function and they are also less prone to developing dementia resulting from Alzheimer’s, as per Mayo Clinic. On the contrary, obese and inactive people faced the risk of developing cognitive functioning disorders like memory loss. So, you’ve got to get your body moving in order to keep your mind and body healthy. You can check the internet to know about the exercises that seniors should do to maintain shape.
Socialize As Often As You Can
Though the connection between Alzheimer’s and loneliness is not clear-cut, yet there are few studies which show a link between low risk of developing dementia and building a strong social network. There was a 4-year study done among 800 people who were 75 years and older and it was seen that the lonely seniors were twice more likely to develop this disease and its symptoms as against those who enjoyed a close-knit friends and family members. The biggest advantages were found among those seniors who are socially engaged and also active physically and mentally.
Safeguard Your Head From Injuries
The Alzheimer’s Association says that there is a strong link between serious head injury and the future of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly when the injury includes loss of consciousness. Hence, it is imperative that you safeguard your head by always wearing a seat belt or a helmet whenever you participate in sports activities thereby ensuring that your head is safe from injuries. You might no longer do cycling or be playing football, but you should still wear a helmet. Make the home fall-proof by taking precautionary steps.
Engage In A Pursuit Of Knowledge
Just as your muscles work, your brain also gets weaker if you don’t challenge it regularly. Are you of the opinion that you should stop your thinking and learning when you attain your diploma? If answered yes, you should think again. Seniors who are engaged with the world around them are actually always working out their brains. People who lift weights, run or swim are doing physical exercise and people suffering from dementia should exercise their brains.
Safeguard The Heart Of Your Health
Always there has been a surefire link between the increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease. Seniors should be able to protect their health from strokes, heart attack, and blood pressure. Eating low-sugar, high-fiber and calorie-restricted diet can help a person who has this degenerative brain disorder. Maintaining a proper body weight and exercising will also help boost your overall health but these are not the sole things which you should do. There are several other things as well that you can do.
Are you a tobacco smoker? If yes, you should quit as soon as possible. Yes, we know that it is indeed tough to quit smoking especially when you’re a seasoned smoker. US is the tobacco-growing capital and hence it goes without mentioning that there are rather too many people here who smoke or chew nicotine products like gums and patches. It is said to be a part of the heritage of the country. But tobacco and nicotine not only causes cancer but they also contribute to Alzheimer’s dementia which is yet another reason to ditch this habit.
Be More Watchful About The Quality Of Sleep That You Get
You may think that you’re sleeping but are you getting enough sleep? If you’re not getting sound sleep of 7-8 hours at night, you could be having a wide range of health issues which can even include dementia, claims a report from the AARP. Lack of sleep can actually lead to Alzheimer’s. When you sleep less, there is less nocturnal cleaning and hence the proteins called amyloid might be removed thereby contributing to Alzheimer’s and later on dementia. Hence, make sure you get sound sleep.
If you’re looking for home care for someone suffering from dementia, you can search through the online directories which can give you the latest and the best sources of dementia home care in your locality.