Approximately 6 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. While some cases of dementia aren’t preventable, nine risk factors are linked to roughly 35% of Alzheimer’s cases, and many of these factors are controllable.
We're here to help at Health Solutions. Our team of medical professionals has experience enhancing the quality of life for both men and women with dementia. To help stop or slow the progression of dementia, we provide a comprehensive approach to treatment.
Age is the most significant risk factor for dementia, but the disease isn’t a necessary byproduct of aging. Recent research has shown how crucial a role lifestyle plays in dementia development. Continue reading to find out how your habits may impact your risk of dementia.
What is dementia?
Dementia refers to a group of symptoms characterized by a cognitive decline that is severe enough to affect daily functioning. Depending on the stage and the person's baseline cognitive function, dementia symptoms can vary.
An increase in forgetfulness, getting lost in familiar places, and losing track of long periods are signs of early-stage dementia. Other symptoms that appear as the illness worsens include:
- Forgetting well-known facts
- Communication issues
- Needing assistance with personal care
- Frequently asking questions
- Loss of awareness of time
- Increased difficulty with complex tasks,
- Problems reasoning and problem-solving
- Difficulty with organization
- Coordinating issues
There are things you can do to reduce your risk of dementia. Let’s discuss some important ways to protect your brain from cognitive decline.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a risk factor for dementia. Hypertension damages blood vessels that supply your brain with oxygen and nutrients. Over time, the damage can cause your brain to atrophy, paving the way for cognitive decline.
If you have high blood pressure, you must work with your doctor to reduce and control your blood pressure so that it remains in a healthy range.
Maintain healthy weight
The likelihood that you'll develop dementia goes up if you're obese, especially in mid-life. Unfortunately, metabolism slows down as you age, and you naturally lose some muscle mass, making it a bit more challenging to stave off extra pounds.
Adopting an active lifestyle helps to maintain overall health. There’s no need to join a gym; you can get the benefits of physical activity from walking. Just 30 minutes a day on most days is enough to reap health benefits. You can split it up into two 15-minute sessions or three 10 minutes sessions.
Smoking, like high blood pressure, damages blood vessels and has been linked to cognitive decline and brain damage. Avoid smoking if you want to lower your risk of developing dementia.
Do you already smoke? Your risk of dementia and other smoking-related diseases can be reduced by taking steps to stop.
Adopt a nutritious diet
A diet high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in legumes, fresh vegetables, and fruit, can help boost and protect cognitive function. It can also lessen your risk of Type 2 diabetes, a risk factor for dementia.
If you’re struggling with depression, seek treatment. Many people struggle with symptoms of depression for an extended time before considering getting help. Untreated depression has a negative impact on the brain and increases the risk of dementia.
Dementia is associated with social isolation, especially in men and women over 65. Making friends, participating in social activities, and maintaining family ties can all help lower your risk of dementia.
Targeting risk factors improves cognitive health
Patients should feel empowered to make healthy changes that can protect their cognitive health. By targeting dementia risk factors, you can significantly lower your risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases.
An overall healthy lifestyle protects against various chronic diseases. Talk to a Health Solutions provider about making healthy changes in your life to protect your cognitive and overall health.
To find out how we can help you better your health, call our team to schedule a visit with a Health Solutions provider. We have an office in Tinley Park, Rockford, and Olympia Fields, Illinois, as well as Munster, Indiana.