How to Prevent Dementia
At the moment, there are still many unknowns when it comes to dementia. While researchers have been able to pinpoint certain risk factors, they are still looking further into exactly how, and why, dementia develops for some people. With that in mind, there are no concrete or guaranteed ways to prevent dementia.
That being said, leading a lifestyle that is healthy can go some way to reducing the risk of dementia in the future, along with cardiovascular disease and other health conditions.
Researchers have pinpointed some risk factors that can increase the likelihood of you developing dementia, or a disease that causes dementia. Some of these risk factors such as getting older or our genetics are impossible to change. But there are some risk factors that we have some control over, which when addressed may lower the risk.
What are dementia risk factors?
- Untreated depression
- Loneliness or social isolation
- An inactive lifestyle
- A poor diet
- Being overweight
- High blood pressure
- Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
There are many complexities to the above. For example, having a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle does not mean you absolutely will develop dementia. Similarly, eating a balanced diet and doing lots of exercise does not mean you absolutely will not develop dementia.
When we talk about these factors, we are really looking at the level of risk involved with each. For example, being overweight or obese can result in high blood pressure and/or type 2 diabetes. Both of these health problems are linked to a higher risk of Azheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
How can you reduce your risk of getting dementia?
As we have established, there is no concrete way of preventing dementia. But there are factors that can increase our risk of getting it. Therefore, you can reduce your risk by:
- Eating a balanced diet
- Keeping your weight within the healthy range for your height
- Exercising regularly (the NHS website recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week)
- Drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol each week
- Giving up smoking
- Seeking help for depression, low mood, or anxiety
- Having regular health check ups
All of the actions listed above contribute to a healthy, happy lifestyle, while reducing your risk of dementia. As more research is done into dementia, we may in the future become to understand a bit better its exact causes and know better what preventive measures can be taken. However, until that time, what we can do is live a life that is healthy and active where possible, and seek help quickly for any health issues that do arise.