Dementia is a neurodegenerative condition in which memory, problem-solving, language, and other higher mental functions are diminished or lost. These symptoms make dementia to be one of the most debilitating conditions that anyone can find himself or herself in. But the good news here is that it can be prevented with knowledge of the risk factors.
Even though it is not possible at the moment to prevent all kinds of dementia, it is clear that adopting the healthiest form of lifestyle can assist you in the reduction of risks that can cause the development of dementia at an advanced age. Dementia is not the only thing that can be prevented with a good and healthy lifestyle. Other conditions that can be prevented also include cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks or strokes.
Risk Factors for Dementia
A risk factor heightens the chance of developing a medical condition. There are some risk factors of dementia – there is nothing or little that you can do about them. These include age and genes. The more you advance in age, the higher the chances of developing dementia but that is not to say that dementia is a part of the natural ageing process.
Genes on their own do not cause dementia. What scientists have discovered is that some specific genetic factors are associated with the condition. Dementia is usually a result of a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Lack of physical exercise and habits like smoking are part of the environmental factors.
Reducing the Risk
A diet that has a lot of salt, sugar, and saturated fat but low in fiber can increase your risk of dementia and other diseases. The right thing to do is to avoid such meals and go for healthy and nutritious meals that contain more fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
Being obese or overweight is another risk that has been connected with adult-onset diabetes or high blood pressure, both of which are connected with an increased risk for vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If you are obese, you can reduce the risk by shedding all the extra weight and ensuring that your weight remains in the healthy range. This is going to protect you from not just dementia but a host of other medical conditions as well.
Lack of constant physical activity can heighten your risk of heart disease, obesity, and adult-onset diabetes, all of which are contributory risk factors to the development of the condition dementia. For this reason, it is good for older citizens to engage in low-impact physical exercises as it is a way to reduce the risk of dementia later on in life.
Senior citizens can do a minimum of 150 minutes of average aerobic activity every week. This can be in the form of dancing, cycling, or brisk walking. Strengthening exercises like yoga or even gardening are very helpful. It is also good to make attempts to do less sitting but more physical walk around.
Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol will increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and some cancers in addition to damaging your brain leading to several neurodegenerative conditions like dementia. Keep alcohol consumption under control and the benefit is going to be yours later on in life.
Smoking is also one habit you will need to kick as far as reducing your risk of dementia is concerned. This is because smoking caused the diameter of your blood vessels to reduce and this leads to an increase in blood pressure. Smoking can also elevate the risk of heart disease alongside various kinds of malignancies. If you are smoking, you will be doing yourself a very great favor by stopping today.
Dementia is a terrible condition – imagine not knowing your date of birth again or not even able to recognize your most loved ones. However, the good news is that now that there is still time, you can take steps to reduce the risk of having it to the barest minimum.