Dementia - 5 Ways to Reduce your Risk
Ensuring your lifestyle is as healthy as possible can really help with reducing your risk of developing dementia. Although there are no real cures yet, there are many simple activities you can include in your day to day life to help prevent developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Here we bring you 5 suggestions, which are never too late to introduce into your life.
“What’s good for the heart is good for the brain.”
Our lifestyles can greatly affect the probability of developing dementia. Studies of large groups show that dementia risk is lowest in people who have several healthy behaviours in mid-life. However, unhealthy lifestyle choices and the results of these, can greatly increase our chances. These include:
All of these factors increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, which can contribute to the development of dementia in later life.
Be Physically Active…
Exercise works as a powerful preventative medicine. By being physically active, you can help control your blood pressure and weight which will consequently reduce the risk of developing dementia. Exercise is also proven to make us feel great; it releases endorphins, which in turn interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. They also help you sleep and increase self-esteem and confidence.
Challenge your Brain…
You can help build new brain neurons (specialised cells which transmit information to other nerve cells, muscle, or gland cells) and strengthen the connections between them, by challenging your brain. You could look at taking up a new language, starting a new hobby or playing memory games. By doing so, you may off-set the harmful effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia pathologies.
Enjoy Social Activities…
By making time for friends and family, you can help reduce the risk of dementia and depression. Social activities stimulate our brain reserves, helping to keep our brains healthy. You can try and combine your social life with your favourite activity or hobby - whether that be physical or mental exercise, or a sport or social event. This can help keep you happy and motivated, particularly in the early stages of dementia.
Follow a Healthy Diet…
Although more research is needed on the benefits of specific foods or supplements, some evidence shows that a Mediterranean-type diet can help to reduce the risk of dementia. This includes plenty of fruits, cereals, fish, vegetables and legumes. In general, it is best to avoid eating large amounts of foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar and salt as these are associated with a higher risk of heart disease.