Dementia is a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes. This medical condition is caused by brain disease or injury and it is manifested with memory disorders, personality changes and impaired reasoning. The patient who has dementia experiences gradual memory loss, and/or difficulties with thinking, talking, problem-solving, but also has behavioral changes.
About 60% – 70 % of patients have dementia as a result of Alzheimer’s disease. Other health conditions that cause dementia are: Parkinson’s disease, head trauma, vascular changes, thyroid gland problems, depression, regular use of medications and vitamin deficiency.
If the medical condition that caused dementia is not treatable, dementia can become a progressive disease and over time the symptoms will gradually worsen. Conversely, if medical conditions such as thyroid gland problems, medications, depression or vitamin deficiencies are the causes for dementia, it is reversible.
In order to determine the root cause and get proper treatment, you should visit medical expert in case you notice any symptom of dementia.
Medical experts explain that there are various environmental, physiological and lifestyle factors that substantially contribute to development of dementia. While some of these risk factors are modifiable, other factors unfortunately are not.
Below we are going to present you 10 simple strategies that will help you deal with the modifiable factors. Even though it sounds quite unbelievable, by following these tips you significantly will reduce the risk of dementia.
- Minimize the use of anticholinergic drugs
The anticholinergic drugs inhibit the parasympathetic nerve impulses. Namely, the parasympathetic nerve system is one of the two main parts of the automatic nervous system and it is in charge for managing the activities that happen while the body rests. Nerves in the parasympathetic system are responsible for the involuntary movement of muscles in the lungs, urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract and other body parts.
Scientific studies proved that most of the over-the-counter and prescribed sleep aids, as well as allergy medications, antidepressants and heart medications have potent anticholinergic activity in the body.
Recent study proved that regular use of anticholinergic medications substantially increases the risk of dementia and that is the reason why many health professionals around the world try to explain and educate their patients about the possible side-effects of taking such medications. If you are taking anticholinergics, it is highly advisable to consult with a medical expert about how to reduce their usage or star taking other medications.
There are many separate animal and pre-clinical human studies which have found a connection between the low levels of vitamin D and the symptoms that can lead to dementia. As a preventative measure scientists advise sun exposure and taking vitamin D supplements. On this way you will prevent body changes that may cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Docosahexaenoic acid also known as DHA is one of the main fats contained in fish oil. According to recent scientific researches, there is direct correlation between low DHA levels and increased cognitive impairment and that is the reason why many medical experts advice using fish oil. This natural oil is an effective way to prevent the progression of dementia symptoms.
Important note: before you start taking fish oil you should consult with your doctor as incorrect supplementation may cause side-effects and unwanted consequences.
It is scientifically proved that vitamins B12, B6 and folate have the ability to reduce the levels of a molecule called homocysteine (HC). Medical experts warn that high level of HC substantially increase the risk of stroke, heart disease and other vascular diseases that lead to age-related cognitive decline. In order to reduce HC and prevent its damaging effects start taking a B complex that contains 500mcg of B12.
- Regular physical activity
Doctors explain that regular physical activity is one of the best preventive measures for almost every disease. In order to maintain your overall health at perfect condition you should aim for at least half an hour of moderate activity like walking or biking on daily basis.
- Challenge your brain by trying something new, doing crosswords, word puzzles, or learning a new language
According to a recent study, dementia symptoms occur 5 years later in bilingual people compared to elderly people who speak only one language. Another scientific study discovered that by doing crossword puzzles regularly, you can delay memory decline by almost 2.5 years.
- Reduce alcohol intake and quit smoking
Smoking and high alcohol consumption are unhealthy habits that are main cause for numerous health issues. Recent scientific investigation discovered that smokers are at even 45% higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to non-smokers or former smokers.
When it comes to alcohol consummation, it is important to mention that people who drink alcohol in moderate amounts (1 drink on daily basis) have substantially lower risk of developing dementia. Even though it sounds quite strange, people who don’t consume any alcohol are at slightly higher risk than moderate drinkers. In addition to that, people who consume too much alcohol are at substantially highest risk of developing dementia.
- Protect against head injuries for your whole life
There are many scientific studies which have proved that head injuries substantially increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. That is the reason why you should always wear an approved helmet when you are engaging in sporting activities like cycling, skating, skiing skateboarding and rollerblading.
- Stay connected socially and interact with others regularly
Psychologists explain that regular interaction with other people protects you of the negative effects of loneliness and isolation. Group sports such as basketball, volleyball, football will provide you extra benefits as they are combination of physical activity and interaction with other people
- Try to maintain normal blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose and weight
Make sure that your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood glucose as well as weight are in optimal range. It is extremely important to keep these parameters of your health in check as they increase the risk of dementia and also may lead to stroke and increase the risk of heart diseases, as well.
Extra tip: healthy nutrition rich in fish, leafy greens, nuts and seeds is beneficial for your overall health and great prevention of dementia.