Dementia Prevention: What You REALLY Need to Know
Even though many people associate dementia with Alzheimer’s, it’s only partially correct.
The term “dementia” encompasses numerous conditions that can result in cognitive impairments, memory loss, and changes in social functionality. These occur naturally during the aging process.
By Jon Bender
Although getting older is one of the biggest risk factors for dementia, research has shown that there are things you can do to avoid it (or slow the progress). These include the following:
The Early Warning Signs of Dementia
Ability to remember frequent changes as people get older, and many notice them before anybody else does.
For others, family and friends are the first to notice changes in memory, abilities, and behavior. Memory loss that interferes with daily life isn’t a normal part of aging.
People that are experiencing any of the following 12 warning signs should see a medical professional to investigate the cause.
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, or at work
- Confusion with time or place
- Restless sleep
- Walking more slowly
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relations
- New difficulties with words when writing or speaking
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
An early diagnosis for dementia provides the possibility to seek treatment and plan for the future.
Top 5 Things you can do to Help Prevent Dementia
1. Physical Exercise
Regular physical exercise is one of the most effective things that you can do to reduce the risk of dementia.
Numerous studies regarding the effect of aerobic exercise (that increases the heart rate) in middle-aged or senior adults found improvements in memory and thinking. Most importantly, lower rates of dementia.
In general, the studies referred to aerobic exercise conducted for a sustained time period of 20-30 minutes a day.
Also, incorporating cross-body movements in exercising. These stimulate the brain/memory (e.g., touching left knee with right hand, lifting right arm & left leg). These are common exercises which you can find in a yoga class.
2. Exercise Your Mind
Keeping the mind active has been shown to reduce the risk of dementia. Consistently challenging yourself mentally builds the brain’s ability to manage disease.
Find something you enjoy doing that challenges your brain and do it consistently. Some examples of ways to exercise your mind include the following:
- Do crossword or jigsaw puzzles
- Play board games or card games
- Learn something new (a musical instrument, a new language, etc.)
- Read books, the more challenging the better
- Take a class even if it’s just for fun
- Play memory games online
- Social activities (play cards with family or friends, volunteer, join a community club or group)
- Spell a few words BACKWARDS (SDRAWKCAB)!
- Practice “opposite day”! This is done by using your non-dominant hand for daily activities (e.g., brushing your hair, brushing your teeth, eating).
3. Eat Healthy Foods
A balanced, healthy diet can reduce the risk of dementia. Along with other conditions that include heart disease, strokes, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Healthy food/beverage choices include:
- Green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, collards)
- Sweet Potatoes
- Fish, wild Alaskan salmon and sardines are the best choices
- Whole grains
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Green Tea
Other healthy choices:
- Prebiotics & probiotics
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Avoid sugar
- Replace salt
Consuming 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin unrefined coconut oil and 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil daily has also been shown to improve brain function. Also, helps prevent dementia.
Packaged/processed foods that contain trans fats should also be avoided (stick margarine, fried foods, baked goods, etc.).
While you may already know that trans fats are bad for your health, research has found they can also wreak havoc on brain functionality.
4. Don’t Smoke
Smokers put themselves at a much higher risk of developing dementia. Also, other conditions that include lung cancer, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Smoking does severe damage to blood circulation in the body. This includes the blood vessels in the brain, lung, and heart.
5. Drinking Alcohol
Excessive alcohol drinking increases the probability of developing dementia. Dementia linked to alcohol use disorder is classified as alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD).
Drinking large amounts of alcohol inhibits neuron regeneration, causing them to die.
Anytime is a good time to start taking care of your health and is especially essential as we age.
It’s also important to see your general practitioner or if you’re concerned about health problems.
These include hearing loss, depression, not getting enough sleep, and memory issues. All these concerns may increase your risk of dementia.
AND remember, the ones closest to you are the ones you need to carefully watch for the VERY early signs of dementia…
E3 could help provide much needed energy, focus and mental clarity…
If you or a loved one is experiencing dementia-type symptoms, consider trying Ageless Impact’s E3 Energy Drink (while you can get it as it often sells out fast!)
Although it’s not a cure for this disease, it can help provide you with all day energy, enhanced short term memory and mental alertness to get you through the day.
8 Surprising Ways to Lower Your Dementia Risk
A Workout A Day Keeps Dementia Away
Strategies for dementia prevention: latest evidence and implications