As we grow older, the tendency to worry about dementia increases. It's hard to watch aging parents struggle for simple words or names (what's that thing called that you use to talk to someone when you put it up to your ear?). Fortunately, there are a few things that can reduce the risk of developing dementia in younger individuals or slow the progression in adults already experiencing signs.
9 Ways to Combat Dementia:
Pursue education, especially in early years. More education, at least through high school levels, builds more “cognitive reserve,” which can help preserve mental fitness and improve the ability to function even when there is evidence of brain disease and decline.
Participate in some sort of physical activity on a regular basis. Experts are not sure why, but those who continue to exercise as they age are less likely to experience cognitive decline and dementia.
Maintain social contact as you age. Avoid isolation and loneliness. Evidence shows that social isolation decreases brain activity, in turn increasing the risk of dementia.
Treat hearing loss. Even low levels of hearing loss have been found to contribute to cognitive decline.
Control hypertension. High blood pressure is a vascular risk factor associated with lower cognitive ability.
Avoid obesity, which can lead to diabetes and vascular disorders, which in turn lead to impaired cognition.
Quit smoking. Smoking is linked to vascular heart disease, which can contribute to dementia, but cigarette smoke also contains neurotoxins, chemicals that can poison brain cells. (visit http://tobaccofreeflorida.com for tools to help you quit smoking, your way)
Maintain strict control of diabetes. Problems with insulin delivery in the body may cause the brain to produce less insulin, which would interfere with the natural removal of amyloid, a sticky protein that can build up and become toxic to brain cells. Diabetes also causes inflammation and high blood glucose levels, both of which may contribute to decreased cognition.
Resolve depression. Although there is debate as to whether depression is a symptom or a cause of dementia, there is evidence showing higher rates of dementia in those who experience depression in the ten years leading up to a diagnosis of dementia.
Actions and Resources:
Original article written by Susan McQuillan
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