Dementia, which affects the parts of the brain that control thought, language, and memory can tremendously hinder a person’s ability to function normally on a day to day basis. While there is no formula to follow to make sure you or a loved one is not diagnosed with dementia, there are several steps you might take to reduce the risk. In this article we cover some tips for reducing dementia risk.
1. Stay Physically Active
Being physically active is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of getting dementia. Physical activity is a great way to keep your heart healthy, blood pressure low, weight under control, and even weight stable.
One thing that is important to find early on is a way to exercise that you enjoy. Not all types of exercises are for everyone. It can be very beneficial to exercise in small increments of time and then building up endurance. No one is expected to be able to run a marathon without training for it first!
2. Maintain A Health Diet
A healthy, balanced diet may reduce your risk of dementia, as well as other conditions including cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, stroke and heart disease. Eating a balanced diet can include any of the following: Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, eat protein (such as oily fish, beans, pulses, eggs or meat) at least twice a week, limit your sugar intake, and look out for hidden salt, drink 6–8 glasses of fluid (such as water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks) a day.
3. Cut Out Smoking
If you smoke, you’re putting yourself at much higher risk of developing dementia. You’re also increasing your risk of other conditions, including type 2 diabetes, stroke, and lung and other cancers.
Smoking does a lot of harm to the circulation of blood around the body, including the blood vessels in the brain, as well as the heart and lungs.
4. Limit Alcohol Intake
Drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of developing dementia
At most, you should aim to drink no more than 14 units each week. If you regularly drink much more than this, you’re at risk of alcohol-related brain damage.
If you drink as many as 14 units in a week, try to spread them out over at least three days.
5. Exercise Your Mind
Keeping your mind active is likely to reduce your risk of dementia. Regularly challenging yourself mentally seems to build up the brain’s ability to cope with disease. One way to think about it is ‘Use it or lose it’.
Find something you like doing that challenges your brain and do it regularly. It’s important to find something that you’ll keep up. For example:
Talking and communicating with other people may also help to reduce your risk of dementia. Make an effort to keep in touch with the people who are important to you, such as friends and family.