Steps That Might Lower the Risk of Dementia
This article was updated on: 09/15/2018
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. The Mayo Clinic reports symptoms of dementia including memory loss, difficulty communicating, confusion and disorientation, and difficulty reasoning. Other symptoms of dementia could be anxiety, paranoia, agitation and hallucinations. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, which accounts for up to 80 percent of cases. There are other types of dementia including vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington ’s disease and more.
What are the risk factors for dementia?
Some causes of dementia you can control and some you can’t. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, factors include:
- Coexisting medical conditions
What Might Lower the Risk of Dementia?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are no clear-cut answers on how to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia, but research continues to be done. The following has been researched to potentially lower the risk of dementia:
- Vitamin D supplements: According to 2014 research reported by the Mayo Clinic, observational studies suggest that people with a vitamin D deficiency are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The recommended daily dose of Vitamin D is 600 International units per day for adults under age 70 and 800 IU per day for adults over 70. More research is necessary to prove the relationship between vitamin D and dementia, but vitamin D is known to be vital to calcium absorption and other metabolic processes in the body.
- Physical Exercise. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, exercise may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow in the brain.
- Diet: Limiting intake of sugar and saturated fats and eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains may help protect the brain, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
- Strong social connections: According to the Alzheimer’s Association, studies indicate that maintaining strong social connections while aging might lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.
- Intellectual activity: Keeping mentally active may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, perhaps through the way mental stimulation strengthens the connections between nerve cells in the brain, reports the Alzheimer’s Association.
The following may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia:
- Head trauma: To avoid head trauma, protect your head by wearing a helmet when participating in sports and wear a seat belt when driving, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
- Hearing loss: A study reported by the National Center for Biotechnology Information said that hearing impairment in older adults was strong associated with the likelihood of having dementia. Get a hearing aid if you need one.
- Depression: According to the Mayo Clinic, late-life depression might indicate the development of dementia.
- Smoking and heavy alcohol use: Smoking and large amounts of alcohol might increase your risk of developing dementia, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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This is article is not intended to be medical advice. Consult your doctor before changing your diet or beginning an exercise program.