Top Tips to Reduce the Risk of Dementia
What is dementia?
The term dementia covers a group of symptoms that affects memory, normal thinking, communicating and the ability of a person to reason. It sadly interferes with daily life and as it progresses, can make it difficult to perform even daily simple tasks such as bathing and eating.
Alzheimer’s disease is the main cause of the majority of cases of dementia.
Diagnosis looks to find at least two impaired mental functions that interfere with daily activities. It may be necessary for several tests to be carried out to confirm the diagnosis.
Top tips to reduce the risk of dementia
1. Physical activity - with regular exercise helping to improve cardiovascular, bone and muscle health as well as mental health while helping to conbat depression and dementia. Get up and get going with walking, joining an exercise class or gardening. If you can be out in nature at the same time, there are even more benefits. Suggestions are to take a thirty minute walk, five times a week; doing any form of exercise that makes you breathe a little harder and gets the heart beating a little more than usual; doing any kind of strength activity that works your muscles such as chair-based exercises or yoga.
2. What you eat - it is said that ensuring a healthy and balanced diet can help to prevent dementia because of helping to avoid hypertension and obesity. Look for a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables, good fats but minus the trans fat, fish and white meats as well as those foods rich in antioxidants such as berries and leafy greens.
3. Don't smoke - such a well known dangerous practice of course but worth reminding that smoking increases the risk of dementia as well as many other diseases.
4. Cut out or cut down on alcohol - as drinking too much alcohol significantly increases the risk of dementia and other alcohol-related brain illnesses.
5. Staying in touch as we age - yes, especially for the elderly, social contact and continuing to talk to friends and family daily is vital to help prevent or slow the progression of dementia. It might be as simple as regular phone calls or making the effort to join social events.
6. Watching out for changes in health - this is because depression, hearing loss and even low levels of sleep have all been linked to a greater incidence of dementia. Regular check ups as you get older can also help spot any issues as soon as they arise helping to improve the outcome - even in dementia.
7. Boosting the brain because it makes good sense to keep an active mind. While giving your brain a workout might not have been proven to reduce your risk of dementia, it certainly cannot hurt and helps to provide more social activities with age. Suggestions include: learning a new language or doing an online course in something that interests you; challenging yourself with puzzles, crosswords and quizzes; playing card or board games regularly; and reading on different and a wide range of topics.
8. A daily and generous spoonful of organic coconut oil. Coconut oil doesn’t just possess neurological benefits, it is also full of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) or medium-chain fatty acids, proven to show improved cognition in dementia patients. There is no unhealthy trans-fat or cholesterol in coconut oil but there are lots of polyphenols. These compounds can act as antioxidants and support the immune system.
Unfortunately, a large proportion of the risk factors for developing dementia are out of our hands...
Those unmodifiable risk factors
Such factors include:
Age - some one in fourteen over the age of sixty five are estimated to have dementia. That proportion increases as we grow older.
Genetics - there are a few very rare forms of dementia associated with specific genes.
Family history – a family history of dementia increases your risk of developing dementia but at this stage it is not clear why.
But that is not all
Cholesterol and brain power - one important point to remember about cholesterol is that we all need sufficient levels to enable our brains to function properly. Cholesterol is a major constituent of the human brain, and the brain is the most cholesterol-rich organ. Cholesterol is tightly regulated between the major brain cells and is essential for normal brain development.