Many Americans associate dementia with old age. However, old age is just but one of other risk factors related to dementia. Though there are no proven approaches to prevent dementia, you may be able to take steps to reduce the risks. All of these facts and quotes are taken from an article published at Alzheimers.gov, a publication from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
We are now learning that having a healthy lifestyle may lessen the chances of contracting dementia. The HHS wrote, “A review of published research evaluated the evidence from clinical trials on behavior and lifestyle changes to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s or age-related cognitive decline. The review found ‘encouraging but inconclusive’ evidence for three types of behavioral changes (called interventions): physical activity, blood pressure control, and cognitive training.” In other words, addressing these three major areas may help lessen the chance you or your loved one will need to deal with a dementia diagnosis.
Keep Physically Active
The first thing to address is your physical activity. Maintaining physical activity has health benefits beyond potentially preventing dementia including lowering your weight, and reducing risks for heart disease and stroke. HHS recommends, “Aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.” By engaging in reasonable physical activity each week, this may reduce the risk of dementia.
Watch Your Heart
The second thing to address is your heart health. According to HHS, “treating high blood pressure with medication and healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercising and quitting smoking, may help reduce the risk of dementia.” If you want to lessen the risk of dementia in your own life, manage your blood pressure and aim for a healthy heart. In addition, a healthy heart has benefits that extend beyond potential dementia prevention.
Challenge Your Mind
The third thing to address is your mental health. Staying mentally active, may improve your chances of avoiding dementia. HHS wrote, “Lots of activities can help keep your mind active, including reading, playing board games, crafting or taking up a new hobby, learning a new skill, working or volunteering, and socializing.” So challenge yourself to stay mentally active. Do the hard things that stimulate your brain cells. Keep your mind engaged with productive activities. Learn something new every day.
There may be other contributing factors in a future diagnosis of dementia. These include…
- Head injuries
- Social engagement
- Drinking alcohol
- Hearing issues
- Drinking water
Making lifestyle changes is all part of making healthy life choices as you age. Though you may not be able to completely eliminate the chance you or a loved one will develop dementia, these lifestyle changes should improve your overall health and lifespan.