Dementia is a frightening concept for most people. Everyone wishes to hold onto cognitive brain functions, as long as humanly possible. But, we all age and cannot halt the progress of aging, however, the truth is dementia isn’t a normal part of aging and can occur in younger people too. So, what are our risk factors?
You are put at a greater risk of developing dementia if you have a family history of it. This is not a rigid scale and many people with some family members who have dementia, have never developed it. Those who are greatly concerned with their risk factors can be tested to determine whether you have certain genetic mutations. There are many people with Down syndrome who develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
There are many studies today that are linking traumatic head injuries and concussions with dementia. Those studies are very interesting and CU Boulder is leading a groundbreaking initiative to study next-gen concussion prevention, diagnoses, and treatments for student-athletes. They are studying the long term effects of athletic field concussions to see if they lead to later in life impairment. So, even with risk factors, there is no hard rule to perceive if you are at full risk to contact it.
Cut Down Dementia Risks
Research points to the fact that lack of exercise increases the risk of dementia. And, your diet counts here as there is a higher risk in people who eat an unhealthy diet compared with those who follow a diet rich in produce, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Alcohol use is another cause for concern. Moderate alcohol consumption might have a protective effect while larger amounts of alcohol give most a higher risk factor.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, the buildup of fats in your artery walls and obesity are a concern of many family physicians. Though it is little understood depression later in life might also be indicative of an onset of dementia.
There are steps you can take that might help prevent dementia. More research is needed to determine what is most beneficial. Many people today are working at keeping the mind active. Activities such as reading and solving puzzles, memory training, and word games may delay the onset and decrease effects from it. Everyone today is realizing the brain is a muscle that deserves a daily workout.
Being physically and socially active might also delay the onset of dementia and reduce its symptoms. Some studies have shown that smoking in middle age and beyond may increase your risk of dementia and blood vessel (vascular) conditions. Quitting may reduce your risk factor and will improve your health.
The end thoughts are to make sure you get enough vitamins through certain foods, supplements and sun exposure. Some research suggests that people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
Manage cardiovascular risk factors. Treat high blood pressure if you have it. Manage high cholesterol, diabetes, and high body mass index. Treat chronic health conditions. See your doctor for treatment if you experience hearing loss, depression or anxiety.
Maintain a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet is important for many reasons, but a diet such as the Mediterranean diet — rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids, might promote your general health and lower your risk of developing dementia.
Last but not least get quality sleep. These small changes can give you big results and help you stay brain- healthy longer. If you need us we are here for you, remember to call GoldLeaf Home Health because we are helping seniors live independently longer.