Under the Hood

Lower Your Dementia Risk With These Effective Tips

Dementia affects nearly 50 million people worldwide and the figure is expected to grow to 82 million by the end of the new decade. Despite the high number of affected people, there is still a lack of awareness in many countries, which delay diagnosis and care.

Poor understanding of dementia also increases an individual’s risk of having the condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that in the following years, there will be 10 million new cases annually across the world. 

In the U.S., there were 5.8 million people living with dementia in 2019. The Alzheimer's Association said the number of adult Americans with the condition may grow in the coming decades, potentially reaching 13.8 million in 2050. 

It usually affects adults at the age of 65 and older. However, there have been reports of younger people developing symptoms of dementia before they reach their 60s. 

Health experts recommend that people make lifestyle changes that could help reduce their risk of having the brain condition. Studies showed that people who follow a brain-healthy lifestyle are less likely to develop dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive decline, according to Next Avenue

Here are some of the tips from experts.

Diet 

The food we eat can either make or break us. MIND diet is considered the best option for people who wish to avoid dementia. 

It combines the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. MIND encourages people to consume more fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, poultry, olive oil and wine, while reducing or fully eliminating processed foods, sugar, whole-fat dairy and red meat.

A study in 2018 concluded that the MIND diet could help increase brain tissue volume, gray matter and the hippocampus. Researchers said its health benefits come from the good amounts of antioxidants from fruits and veggies and omega 3 fatty acids from fish.

Social Interaction

People who spend time with friends and family may have lower risk of developing dementia. Studies showed that those who feel lonely or isolated are 26 percent more likely to experience cognitive decline.

Mental Fitness

“Research suggests mid- and late-life cognitive activity, especially, is linked to delayed onset of cognitive decline,” according to Yuko Hara, head of aging and Alzheimer’s prevention team at the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. 

Experts recommended that people keep learning things, such as new language and using a musical instrument, to improve brain health. Continued cognitive activity could help avoid Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Exercise 

Research in Sweden found that middle-aged women who had very low fitness level were 45 percent less likely to develop dementia. Women who stayed physically active appeared 88 percent less likely to have the same condition. 

Researchers said exercise potentially lowered the dementia risk by reducing chronic inflammation and increasing a protein that supports brain cells. The team suggested 30 minutes of moderate exercise three to five times per week, such as walking or riding a stationary bicycle.

Sleep And Stress

Lack of sleep and high stress levels have been linked to memory problems. Researchers recommend that people follow a lifestyle that includes seven to eight hours of sleep a night and activities that clear the mind.

Stress-reducing activities include yoga, meditation, going outdoors, listening to music, knitting and reading.

Alzheimer's disease People with Alzheimer's disease sit in the refectory of a retirement home on October 18, 2016 in Saint Quirin, eastern France. It is important to know the condition’s early signs or symptoms to get the right programs and services that can help support people with Alzheimer's disease and their families. Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images

Loading...