Reducing Your Risk of Dementia With Ten Lifestyle Changes
Several incurable diseases cause dementia. Generally speaking, dementia is a neurological disorder of the brain that often includes memory loss and issues with solving problems, language, and thinking.
Dementia is cruel in that it slowly robs a person of their ability to function. However, there are things you can do that might protect you from diseases that lead to dementia. Here are ten steps you can take that may reduce your dementia risk:
Spend Time with Other People
If you want to avoid diseases that cause dementia, spend time with others frequently. While everyone needs their personal space, human beings are social animals. It is, therefore, unsurprising that there is a link between dementia and loneliness. Ensure that you regularly spend time with other people. If you are an older person living alone, consider changing that. Perhaps you could move in with friends or relatives. Retirement villages are another possibility if you want to enjoy the company of people of a similar age.
Amending your diet could reduce your odds of developing a disease that causes dementia. Ensure your diet contains plenty of whole grains, vegetables, poultry, fish, beans, berries, olive oil, and nuts. Cut down on fried food, red meat, butter, cheese, and fast food. You do not have to be extreme about your diet to reduce your dementia risk. However, the more closely what you eat resembles a Mediterranean diet, the lower your risk of developing dementia should be.
If something is beneficial for your heart, it usually helps your brain. Regular aerobic exercise can reduce your risk of dementia and decrease the odds of developing several other diseases such as type two diabetes and certain types of cancer. The more active you are, the less likely you are to succumb to Alzheimer’s disease, one of the leading causes of cognitive decline and dementia.
Strength training includes lifting weights, muscular isolation training, and push-pull training. Strength training could help to reduce your risk for diseases that lead to dementia. It helps protect brain areas linked to Alzheimer’s, such as the hippocampus, slowing down or even stopping cognitive degeneration in these areas.
Avoid Drinking Alcohol to Excess
Drinking alcohol in moderation will not harm you. However, consuming a lot of alcohol over a long time can eventually lead to brain damage and dementia. Excessive alcohol use over several years changes the structure of the human brain, which increases the odds of developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
How much alcohol can you drink safely? To maintain your physical, mental, and cognitive health, aim to consume no more than fourteen units of alcohol a week. Avoid binge drinking, too. It is best to spread those fourteen units of alcohol over at least three days. Fourteen units of alcohol are the equivalent of about six pints of four-percent beer or six medium-sized glasses of wine.
Manage Your Weight
When it comes to dementia, obesity is another risk factor. If your body mass index is greater than 30, you are at more risk of developing dementia than someone whose BMI is within the healthy range of between 18 and 25. Why is there a correlation between obesity and dementia? The reason for this correlation is uncertain. However, excesses of body fat can increase inflammation. This inflammation may lead to an increase of harmful proteins in the brain. If you want to lower your risk of getting a disease that causes dementia, try to keep your BMI within the healthy range.
Give Up Smoking
If you smoke cigarettes, it does not automatically mean that you will get dementia in later life. Nevertheless, there is a link between smoking and dementia, memory loss, and the ability to think logically. If dementia is a cause of concern for you, do yourself the favor of speaking to your health care practitioner about smoking cessation.
Stimulate Your Mind
Keeping your mind active may help to prevent diseases that cause dementia. Keep your mind and memory sharp by engaging in the following activities:
• Playing chess and other mentally stimulating games
• Completing crosswords and puzzles
• Learning new skills
• Keeping a journal
• Baking cakes
• Playing card games
• Reading books
Staying mentally stimulated and forcing yourself to adapt by learning new skills helps your brain build new neural connections.
Keep Your Blood Pressure Stable
If you have elevated blood pressure in midlife, it increases your risk of getting vascular dementia in your senior years. Eating healthily, regular exercise, and stress management will help you manage your blood pressure and avoid hypertension. If your lifestyle is healthy and you still have hypertension, talk to your health care provider about medications that control blood pressure.
Get Enough Sleep
If you do not get adequate sleep, it alters parts of your brain that correlate with Alzheimer’s disease. Those with primary insomnia face higher odds of receiving a dementia diagnosis. If you have primary insomnia, your inability to sleep well is unrelated to another cause, such as depression or drug use. To reduce your chances of receiving a dementia diagnosis one day, aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.
Excellent Cognitive Health in Your Senior Years
By making ten positive lifestyle changes today, you will give yourself a fighting chance of having excellent cognitive health for the entire duration of your life. Why not live a fulfilling life in your senior years? Perhaps today is the day to get up off the sofa and walk to your neighbor’s house to play chess.