Dementia is a huge concern if you’re a senior or taking care of an elderly relative. While some factors, like aging and genetics, are beyond your control, many experts believe that lifestyle changes can reduce your risk by as much as thirty percent or more. In addition, a recent study found one more way to help your brain stay healthy in your golden years. So, we at Healthy Avid have put together these 12 Easy strategies to reduce the risk of dementia for you or your loved ones.
Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
According to researchers at Yale University, a positive attitude about aging could cut your risk of dementia in half. They also found that gracefully accepting the aging process worked just as well for seniors with the APOE 4 gene strongly associated with developing chronic brain conditions.
Dementia is not a normal part of aging but a set of symptoms that often includes a decline in memory and other daily functions. Protect yourself and your loved ones by learning to embrace aging and develop other healthy habits.
Strategies to Reduce your Risk of Dementia
1) Reframe your thoughts
You’re in control of how you respond to situations, so replace negative beliefs with more affirming ones. Learning from setbacks and using hardships to make you stronger and braver can help you reduce your risk of dementia.
2) Stay connected
Surround yourself with family and friends who nurture and encourage you. Ask for help when you need it.
3) Laugh more
You can reduce dementia risk by trying to see the humorous side of complex events—schedule time to play with your grandchildren or watch a funny movie.
4) Advocate for aging
Studies also show that experiencing age discrimination can intensify negative beliefs about aging. Speak up when you see incidents of ageism at work or in the media.
5) Exercise regularly
Aim to work out at least three days a week for at least 30 minutes. Exercise can help to protect you from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, which are some of the most common conditions that raise your risk for dementia.
6) Quit smoking
Using tobacco harms your brain by interfering with your circulation. However, some studies have shown that smoking early and beyond may increase your risk of dementia and other vascular diseases.
If you have had trouble giving up cigarettes, try a different method or a combination of approaches. Quitting smoking can help reduce your risk of dementia and will improve your health.
7) Lose weight
Shedding excess pounds benefits your brain as well as your body. Even a modest 5% loss can have dramatic effects.
8) Limit alcohol
Heavy drinking makes you more vulnerable to dementia. Consumption of alcohol is typical in Western countries and has been increasing in older adults. Recent figures from the United Kingdom show that seventy-five percent of those over 65 drink, an increase from seventy-one percent ten years ago.
Chronic heavy intake of alcohol is a well-established cause of brain atrophy and dementia. In addition, a recent long-term prospective study from the USA reports a doubling of the odds of later severe memory impairment in persons with a history of an alcohol use disorder.
Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol has been reported to be protective for brain health in several epidemiological studies. Although, some of these studies include claims of reducing dementia risk. The Centers for Disease Control recommends no more than one drink daily for women and two for men.
9) Challenge your brain
Exercise strengthens your brain just like lifting weights builds your muscles. Enjoy word puzzles or Sudoku. Study a foreign language or practice playing a musical instrument.
10) Check your hearing
Dementia is a significant source of disability globally, and there are currently no available disease-modifying treatments for this condition. Hearing loss may be linked with an increased risk of dementia in later life and, therefore, could be a significant risk factor, given the availability of efficacious interventions.
A study investigated the association between hearing loss and dementia through two complementary approaches: a prospective cohort study of 37,898 older men. The data showed that eighteen percent of men with hearing loss were more likely to develop dementia than men without significant hearing impairment.
This study gives an important finding, particularly considering recent suggestions that mid-life hearing loss may account for up to nine percent of dementia cases globally.
Scientists are discovering more evidence about the link between hearing loss and dementia. Many experts believe that hearing impairment causes social isolation and makes the brain work harder to process sounds, leaving fewer resources available for other mental activities.
11) Sit less
Prolonged sitting can take its toll on your mental and physical health, even if you exercise regularly. The most effective strategy may be to shift positions often among sitting, standing, and walking.
12) Spot early signs
The first visible symptoms of dementia frequently include memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and confusion. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can often delay the onset of other symptoms. Talk with your doctor and get routine checkups.
By staying mentally sharp and active, you can lower your risk of dementia. In addition, having time, an attitude, and a healthy lifestyle will give you more years to spend with your loved ones and enjoy your favorite past times.
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