Getting Your Health on the Right Track: 12 Known Dementia Prevention Strategies
A whopping 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, while another one in three seniors dies from the disease or another form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and progresses over time, becoming a devastating disease for those who have it, as well as for their loved ones. Those with Alzheimer’s eventually have difficulty performing even the simplest of tasks. The kind of care required can be daunting, but loved ones can find help and more at ParcProvence.com.
There is good news – living a healthy lifestyle and following these 12 preventative strategies can help prevent you and your loved ones from becoming one of the 14 million expected to develop dementia by the year 2050.
Not only can living a fit lifestyle keep an ageing body healthy, but it also can work the mind and help prevent dementia. According to Harvard Medical School, exercise can help the brain tissue by improving blood flow. For example, one study of adults showed those who exercised for three, one-hour sessions a week had less anxiety, irritability and depression, along with better mental speed and attention compared to their counterparts who did not participate in any form of fitness. Those who had mild dementia, but exercised up to one hour, four times a week, had better blood flow to the brain and a reduction in dangerous proteins commonly found with Alzheimer’s disease (https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/exercise-a-promising-treatment-for-dementia).
It seems exercise and eating healthy always go hand in hand, but the food you consume can go a long way in preventing dementia as an adult. Foods that are good for the body also are good for the brain. Sticking with a diet of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains and foods containing omega-3 can help you lead a longer lifestyle with stronger cognitive abilities. Also, stray from eating fried foods and those high in fat. The National Institute of Health links the risk of a high-fat diet to the development of dementia. Fat in the diet has been linked to cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, conditions that have also been implicated as risk factors for dementia.
On the list of things you consume which can affect your physical health as well as your mental health, smoking tops the list of items to avoid. Not only is it a proven risk for cancer, but the Alzheimer’s Association also shows smoking can impair blood flow to the brain and lead to problems with mental capacity.
This list might seem more like a list of things not to do, but limiting alcohol intake is key in the success of preventing dementia. Drinking excessive amounts, like a high-fat diet and smoking, can lead to stroke, heart disease and cancer. It also can damage the nervous system, and that includes the brain.
Learn a language
Learning a new language can be fun and open up a whole new world of discovery, but it also keeps the brain sharp and working. Make it fun and plan a trip to a country that speaks the new language you have learned and put your new skills to use.
Stress is never good on the body. When it goes unchecked, it can lead to a number of health issues, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes (www.mayoclinic.org). To help reduce stress, follow some of the guidelines already mentioned above. If stress levels are still high, consider speaking to a counsellor or therapist.
Try your best to stay involved in social activities, whether it be a job, volunteer work, church activities or social clubs and groups. These activities will get you off the couch and moving, forcing your brain to work alongside your body.
Watch the weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is vital in warding off serious health conditions, such as diabetes. As mentioned, these health conditions have been known to lead to more serious health problems and to affect the brain and its ability to function. According to the University of College London, those who maintain a healthy Body Mass Index are less likely to get dementia in their later years. In the very least, a healthy weight helps to slow the symptoms.
Getting health check-ups with your family doctor on a frequent basis is important in the prevention and detection of cancer, heart disease, stroke and other illnesses, but did you know it also is important for the brain? If diagnosed early, those with dementia are able to make plans for care and costs. There also are financial benefits. If mild cognitive impairment is caught before the stages of dementia, it would collectively save more than seven trillion dollars collectively in healthcare and long-term care costs.
Watch the babies
A new article being shared across social media claims those who watch their grandbabies can help prevent Alzheimer’s – but is there any truth to it? According to a recent study, not only does babysitting those precious little ones increase brain power, but it also has been linked to a reduction in depression and helps prevent the social isolation that can lead to cognitive decline and even death.
Mother nature offers one of the best ways to prevent dementia. Getting outside and soaking in the clean air and beautiful sights can lower stress and clear the mind. Enjoy a nature walk, visit a local zoo, have a picnic in the park with a friend, or tend to the garden.
Start a journal
There are many benefits to starting a diary of your life’s journey. It is always nice to have a map of our life to look back on, enjoy the memories of the past and realize how far we have come. It also provides precious memories to pass along to your loved ones when the time comes. However, writing daily in a journal can help keep the mind sharp, while reading it can remind us of great times.
While there is much emphasis on our physical health and taking the right steps to avoid disease, it is just important to follow guidelines in keeping our minds healthy as well. Doing so will help preserve cognitive function and help prevent the horrible disease that is dementia.