How can I prevent the onset of Dementia?

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How can I prevent the onset of Dementia?

Dementia is often associated with growing older and is frequently mistaken for a ‘normal’ part of ageing…Dementia is NOT an inevitable consequence of ageing! 

The World Health Organization (WHO) have recently updated their guidance on Dementia and suggest that the most effective way to prevent Dementia is to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

So, what does a healthy lifestyle look like?

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet has benefits, not only in terms of Dementia, but in relation to our overall health and wellbeing. Following a healthy diet can also prevent other conditions and medical complications, such as reducing blood pressure and preventing or controlling Diabetes and other complications associated with weight gain and obesity.

There is evidence that following a Mediterranean diet is beneficial for  cognitive function and therefore preventing Dementia. A healthy diet is often suggested to be high in plant-based foods and low in meats.

Other foods that are thought to offer a positive contribution to preventing Dementia are fruit and vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil and coffee. Those that have a high consumption of fish in their diet are linked to lower memory decline.

Regular Exercise / Physical Activity

Physical Activity is associated with brain health and can have a positive effect on the brain structure.

WHO has suggested that physical activity and regular exercise could prevent cognitive decline, or further cognitive decline.

Similarly to maintaining a healthy diet, taking part in regular exercise will have a positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing – physically, emotionally, mentally and socially.

Healthy Blood Pressure

Healthy blood pressure will be achieved where no Hypertension (high blood pressure) is present. High blood pressure could increase the risk of developing Dementia.

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure can be achieved through medication, if it is not possible to control and manage this yourself through diet and exercise (medical advice should always be sought).

As with the previous steps that can be taken to prevent Dementia, maintaining a healthy blood pressure will also have a positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Cholesterol Level

Similarly to maintaining a healthy blood pressure, we should also look to manage and maintain a healthy cholesterol level. Unhealthy cholesterol levels is known as Dyslipidemia. 

There is evidence of a close link between high cholesterol levels and the development of Dementia and so managing  a healthy cholesterol level, especially during mid-life ages, can help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and Dementia.

Keeping the Mind Active

Keeping your mind active has a wealth of benefits throughout your entire life and shouldn’t stop as we grow older. 

Cognitive stimulation and activity can prevent or reduce cognitive decline.

Activities to keep the mind active can be achieved for all abilities from puzzles to wordsearches, crosswords, sudoku or even a Rubik’s Cube!

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy could also be used to promote and encourage cognitive activity.

Stop Smoking

Dependence on tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death globally and there is evidence to suggest a noticeable link between smoking tobacco and Dementia.

Stopping smoking could not only positively impact cognitive decline it may also promote and encourage other health benefits and help to contribute towards a healthy lifestyle.

As of yet, there is no cure for Dementia but with continuing research, and the condition affecting so many lives, this is something we strive for.

There is not just one cause for Dementia. As we know, Dementia is a condition that takes a variety of forms and presents very differently depending on the individual.

Living a healthy lifestyle not only has the potential to prevent, or at least push back, Dementia, it also encourages and promotes a better quality of life and can prevent so many other conditions and medical complications.

What are your thoughts?

Do you have an experience you would like to share?

Or, is there a topic you would like us to write about?

Get in touch – Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk

12 Risk Factor associated with Dementia

12 Risk Factor associated with Dementia​

Although Dementia is an umbrella term that covers a wide variety of diseases and conditions with a range of symptoms, it appears (as per the World Health Organization) that there are common risk factors that may contribute to the onset of Dementia – whatever form it takes.  

12 primary risk factors have been identified as follows:

Lack of Physical Activity

Physical activity is often linked to brain health and can health positive effects on the structure of the brain.

WHO has suggested that physical activity could be recommended to those with normal cognition, as well as those with mild cognitive impairment to prevent cognitive decline, or further cognitive decline.

Smoking

Dependence on tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death globally!

Studies show a noticeable link between smoking tobacco and Dementia.

Stopping smoking could not only positively impact cognitive decline it may also promote and encourage other health benefits. 

Poor Diet

A healthy diet could have a major impact on preventing Dementia.

One suggestion, is to follow a Mediterranean-style diet as this is evidenced to protect against cognitive decline and improve cognitive function.

A healthy diet can also be used to prevent, or improve, hypertension which is another risk factor associated with Dementia.

Alcohol Misuse

Misuse of alcohol is one of the leading causes of disability across the world.

There is evidence of a link between excessive consumption of alcohol and Dementia.

Reducing or limiting the amount of alcohol consumed can have a great impact on preventing cognitive decline. Reducing the consumption of alcohol may also evidence other health benefits for the individual.

Insufficient or Impaired Cognitive Reserve

Cognitive Reserve is the brain’s ability to cope with or compensate for neuropathology or damage. 

Increased cognitive activity, through cognitive stimulation therapy and/or cognitive training, can increase your Cognitive Reserve and prevent cognitive decline and the onset of Dementia.

Lack of Social Activity

Where an individual is excluded from social interaction or disengaged, it has been shown to increase the risk of cognitive impairment and Dementia.

Social Interaction and activity could be with family, friends, caregivers or the wider community.

Social interaction and engagement is known to increase an individual’s overall health and wellbeing and thus could help stave off Dementia.

Unhealthy Weight Gain

Excessive weight is a big risk factor for a range of conditions and medical complications.

Those in their mid-life ages that are overweight, or suffering from obesity, could be increasing their risk of developing Dementia.

Weight loss may also have a positive impact on other potential risk factors, such as Hypertension, Cholesterol Levels and Physical Activity.

Hypertension

Hypertension is the term used for an individual with high blood pressure.

Those with high blood pressure could be increasing their risk of developing Dementia and taking steps to reduce this, could reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Hypertension can be reduced or controlled with medication or by taking control of other risk factors associated with Dementia, such as diet and physical activity.

Diabetes

Late life Diabetes is linked to the development of Dementia.

Developing Diabetes may well be unavoidable but where this is not managed correctly it can increase the risk of cognitive decline and developing Dementia.

Where an individual already has Diabetes, if this is well managed then this could help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Unhealthy Cholesterol Levels

Unhealthy cholesterol levels is also known as Dyslipidemia. 

There is evidence of a close link between high Cholesterol Level and the development of Dementia.

Managing healthy cholesterol levels, especially during mid-life ages, can help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Depression

Depression is a risk factor associated with cognitive decline and Dementia.

Depression is also known to reduce motivation which can in turn cause cognitive decline.

Treating depression medically or through trying to incorporate an overall wellbeing strategy could help to improve cognitive activity and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is common amongst those over the age of 65, with 1 in 3 individuals affected.

Some evidence suggests a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline and Dementia.

Improving hearing loss, for those affected, could not only have a positive impact on their cognitive ability but also on their overall quality of life.

The full Guidelines from the World Health Organization in relation to the Risk Reduction of Cognitive Decline and Dementia can be found HERE.



Do you have an experience you would like to share?

Or, is there a topic you would like us to write about?

Get in touch – Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk

12 Risk Factor associated with Dementia​

Although Dementia is an umbrella term that covers a wide variety of diseases and conditions with a range of symptoms, it appears (as per the World Health Organization) that there are common risk factors that may contribute to the onset of Dementia – whatever form it takes.  

12 primary risk factors have been identified as follows:

Lack of Physical Activity

Physical activity is often linked to brain health and can health positive effects on the structure of the brain.

WHO has suggested that physical activity could be recommended to those with normal cognition, as well as those with mild cognitive impairment to prevent cognitive decline, or further cognitive decline.

Smoking

Dependence on tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death globally!

Studies show a noticeable link between smoking tobacco and Dementia.

Stopping smoking could not only positively impact cognitive decline it may also promote and encourage other health benefits. 

Poor Diet

A healthy diet could have a major impact on preventing Dementia.

One suggestion, is to follow a Mediterranean-style diet as this is evidenced to protect against cognitive decline and improve cognitive function.

A healthy diet can also be used to prevent, or improve, hypertension which is another risk factor associated with Dementia.

Alcohol Misuse

Misuse of alcohol is one of the leading causes of disability across the world.

There is evidence of a link between excessive consumption of alcohol and Dementia.

Reducing or limiting the amount of alcohol consumed can have a great impact on preventing cognitive decline. Reducing the consumption of alcohol may also evidence other health benefits for the individual.

Insufficient or Impaired Cognitive Reserve

Cognitive Reserve is the brain’s ability to cope with or compensate for neuropathology or damage. 

Increased cognitive activity, through cognitive stimulation therapy and/or cognitive training, can increase your Cognitive Reserve and prevent cognitive decline and the onset of Dementia.

Lack of Social Activity

Where an individual is excluded from social interaction or disengaged, it has been shown to increase the risk of cognitive impairment and Dementia.

Social Interaction and activity could be with family, friends, caregivers or the wider community.

Social interaction and engagement is known to increase an individual’s overall health and wellbeing and thus could help stave off Dementia.

Unhealthy Weight Gain

Excessive weight is a big risk factor for a range of conditions and medical complications.

Those in their mid-life ages that are overweight, or suffering from obesity, could be increasing their risk of developing Dementia.

Weight loss may also have a positive impact on other potential risk factors, such as Hypertension, Cholesterol Levels and Physical Activity.

Hypertension

Hypertension is the term used for an individual with high blood pressure.

Those with high blood pressure could be increasing their risk of developing Dementia and taking steps to reduce this, could reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Hypertension can be reduced or controlled with medication or by taking control of other risk factors associated with Dementia, such as diet and physical activity.

Diabetes

Late life Diabetes is linked to the development of Dementia.

Developing Diabetes may well be unavoidable but where this is not managed correctly it can increase the risk of cognitive decline and developing Dementia.

Where an individual already has Diabetes, if this is well managed then this could help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Unhealthy Cholesterol Levels

Unhealthy cholesterol levels is also known as Dyslipidemia. 

There is evidence of a close link between high Cholesterol Level and the development of Dementia.

Managing healthy cholesterol levels, especially during mid-life ages, can help to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Depression

Depression is a risk factor associated with cognitive decline and Dementia.

Depression is also known to reduce motivation which can in turn cause cognitive decline.

Treating depression medically or through trying to incorporate an overall wellbeing strategy could help to improve cognitive activity and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is common amongst those over the age of 65, with 1 in 3 individuals affected.

Some evidence suggests a link between hearing loss and cognitive decline and Dementia.

Improving hearing loss, for those affected, could not only have a positive impact on their cognitive ability but also on their overall quality of life.

The full Guidelines from the World Health Organization in relation to the Risk Reduction of Cognitive Decline and Dementia can be found HERE.



Do you have an experience you would like to share?

Or, is there a topic you would like us to write about?

Get in touch – Info@DementiaTLC.co.uk