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What Can You Do To Reduce The Risk Of Dementia

Log At Least Seven Hours Of Sleep At Night

How can you reduce your risk of dementia?

Getting sufficient rest can help you reduce your Alzheimer’s risk. According to researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in 2018, a lack of sleep increases the amount of beta-amyloida protein linked to Alzheimer’s diseasein the brain. In the study, just a single night of sleep deprivation shot beta-amyloid levels up a staggering 5 percent among study subjects. So, don’t be ashamed of that 9 p.m. bedtimeit’ll protect your mind in the long run.

And When You Do Drink Enjoy A Glass Of Red Wine

We’ve all heard of the myriad dangers of drinking, but there’s one great reason to imbibe: the right adult beveragered wine, to be exactmight just lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Not only does research suggest that the resveratrol in red wine can benefit the blood-brain barrier, but in 2018, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found a link between drinking the occasional glass of wine and lower levels of Alzheimer’s-associated toxins in the brain.

Snack On Some Chocolate

One of the easiest ways to reduce your Alzheimer’s risk is also the sweetest: Just add some high-quality dark chocolate to your diet. Chocolate is a good source of tryptophan, which can help keep you mentally sharp as you age. In fact, according to a 2000 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, low tryptophan levels caused reduced cognitive capabilities among adults with Alzheimer’s, suggesting that eating more tryptophan-rich foodslike oats, dairy, chocolate, chickpeas, seeds, eggs, and red meatmay be able to slow the disease’s progression.

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Brain Risk Factors That Can Be Controlled

  • mental activity regularly challenging your brain with mentally stimulating activities through education, occupation or leisure is linked with lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia
  • social activity participating in social activities and being connected with your community, family and friends is linked with a lower risk of dementia.

How To Get A Quality Sleep

8 Actions to Reduce Dementia Risk [Infographic]

Reinforce circadian rhythms by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. Your brain will respond to regularity.

If you find that you need to nap in the daytime, it can also affect your night time sleep. So, if you need an energising afternoon nap, set a timer for 30 minutes.

Ideally dont use a computer, tablet or your phone in the bedroom or for at least 2 hours before bedtime. Use of these can excite the brain, preventing sleep.

Snoring can prevent a good nights sleep. If you have sleep apnea, then it can be potentially dangerous due to interrupted breathing. See your doctor for advice.

If you have difficulty in falling to sleep, dont lie in bed tossing, turning and worrying about sleep get up make a camomile tea or read an unexciting book.

Have a bedtime ritual. Take a relaxing bath, do some simple stretches, dim the lights. This will signal the brain that it is time for some quality sleep.

Clear your mind of the day by writing a page in your journal. Make to-do lists as this will help you to drop off to sleep without worrying.

Stress, anxiety or negative internal dialogues can prevent sleep. Read or relax in another room. Try a milky drink or turkey sandwich to help aid sleep.

New studies have highlighted that poor sleep is not a symptom of Dementia it, it is a possible risk factor. Advice is that if you are affected by poor sleep patterns, you should seek medical advice. Most adults need 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night.

Additional sources:

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Load Up On Red Fruits

A little red fruit on your plate every day could mean many more cognitively fit years in your future. In 2017, researchers at Georgetown University’s Department of Neurology found that resveratrol, a phenol found in red fruits, peanuts, and chocolate, can help maintain the integrity of a person’s blood-brain barrier, dysfunction of which is a potential precursor to the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Make Preventative Healthcare A Priority

It is important to have a primary care provider as you get older. Even if you arent experiencing any symptoms, there are certain medical conditions that you should get a screening for regularly. Below are recommendations for regular screenings for all adults by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force:

  • All adults aged 40 to 70 who have obesity should get screened for diabetes.

  • All adults should have their blood pressure checked when they visit a medical office.

  • Adults should have their cholesterol levels checked every 1 to 5 years. Adults should be screened yearly for alcohol misuse.

  • Anyone with a high body mass index should be offered counseling and resources for behavioral change.

  • All adults should be screened for depression and offered appropriate treatment and follow-up. This is important because, in people over 50 years old, depression increases the risk of dementia by almost two times.

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Give Your Brain A Strong Heart

Your heart and brain are strongly connected. A healthy heart gives you a better chance for a healthy brain. 80% of people with Alzheimers disease also have heart disease. It is possible that the decline in the brain is not noticed unless it is paired with poor heart health. Evidence suggests that controlling high blood pressure could be key to better brain health.

Action Strategy: Have your blood pressure checked by a health professional regularly. If you have high blood pressure, discuss steps to improve your heart health. For example, take 5 deep breaths every hour to reduce stress. Make sure to exercise regularly and eat a heart-healthy diet.

Look After Your Heart

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Research shows that people who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or are obese, particularly around middle age, have a greater risk of developing dementia later in life. Leaving these conditions untreated can lead to damaged blood vessels in the brain, which in turn damages brain cells and leads to impaired thinking functions.

Although there are no guarantees that keeping your heart healthy will prevent dementia, you will give yourself the best chance of avoiding or delaying dementia.

Promisingly, studies have shown that the treatment of high blood pressure reduces that risk. Other studies indicate that treating high cholesterol and diabetes may also reduce the risk of developing dementia, although more research is needed in this area.

It is recommended you have regular check-ups to assess your:

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Hearing Loss And Dementia Risk

People with hearing loss in midlife are at a higher risk of dementia. Older adults with hearing problems also have higher odds of dementia except for those who use hearing aids. socially isolating, Larson said. Social isolation and inability to engage with others in speech and listening has a detrimental effect on maintaining brain reserve.

Heres what you can do:To prevent hearing loss, Larson urged people to avoid excessive noise. Those who have hearing difficulties should seek testing and, if appropriate, use a hearing aid.

Read more about past research on the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline

Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Dementia

Dementia, specifically Alzheimers disease, is one of the greatest factors affecting the quality of life for seniors in the United States. As the Baby Boomers age, this disease, once only whispered about, has been brought into the spotlight. Finding a cure for Alzheimers and, by extension other forms of dementia, is one of the major health initiatives undertaken and funded by the United States Congress. As we learn more and more about the disease, including some of the factors as to why some people get it and others dont, were still on the hunt for a cure.

As of yet, there is no sure-fire way of preventing Alzheimers disease and other dementias, says Jean Norte, Executive Director of Bridges® by EPOCH at Westwood, a memory care and assisted living community in Westwood, MA. However, what is known is that a healthy lifestyle can greatly reduce your risk of developing dementia, as well as help prevent strokes and heart attacks.

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Risk Factors For Developing Dementia

While we cant yet point to the reason why some people develop dementia and others dont, scientists have been able to determine several risk factors that increase a persons chance of developing the disease. Some of these factors include:

  • Being age 65 and older. The older you become, the more likely you are to develop a form of dementia.
  • Being a woman. On average, women develop dementias at twice the rate of men.
  • Your genetic makeup and history. Theres no one specific gene that causes dementia, but there are some genetic factors that play a role in some of the more unusual forms of the disease. Alzheimers also runs in families, and individuals with Downs Syndrome almost always develop dementias.
  • Lower levels of education. While this factor is still largely hypothetical, it has been noted that individuals with a lower level of education develop dementia more often than others with higher levels of education.
  • Physical and mental health risks, including depression, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, alcohol abuse and social isolation

What You Should Do For Alzheimers Prevention

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Even though we don’t have enough evidence that all healthy lifestyle choices prevent Alzheimer’s, we do know they can prevent other chronic problems. For example, limiting alcohol intake can help reduce the risk for certain cancers, such as breast cancer. Best advice: make as many healthy lifestyle choices as you can. “They’re all beneficial, and if they help you avoid Alzheimer’s, all the better,” says Dr. Marshall.

Know the symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Forgetting where you parked your car can be annoying. If it happens all the time, it can be disturbing, and you may worry that it’s a sign of a more serious condition. But don’t panic. There’s a difference between normal age-related memory slips, such as forgetting where the car keys are, and more serious signs of memory loss, such as forgetting what car keys are used for.

Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include frequent memory loss, confusion about locations, taking longer to accomplish normal daily tasks, trouble handling money and paying bills, loss of spontaneity, and mood and personality changes. “If you have a decline in your memory or thinking that affects your ability to perform any of your daily routines, ask your doctor for a screening to evaluate you for Alzheimer’s and related conditions,” says Dr. Gad Marshall, a Harvard Medical School assistant professor of neurology.

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The Link Between Traumatic Brain Injury And Dementia Risk

Traumatic brain injury , a risk factor in midlife, is often caused by injuries sustained from automobile, sports accidents and exposure to blasts among members of the military. Severe TBI is linked to abnormal tau proteins, a biomarker of Alzheimers. People aged 50 years or older with a history of TBI are at an increased risk of dementia compared to those without TBI.

Meanwhile, falls are the leading cause of TBI among older adults. And older adults with concussion have double the risk of dementia.

Heres what you can do:To reduce risk of falls for older adults, doing balance exercises and maintaining muscle strength especially in the legs is crucial, Larson said. Lookout for items around your home which can cause a trip. And avoid walking on slick surface barefoot or with stockings.

Read more about past research on TBI and dementia among military veterans, and the different proteins involved in TBI.

Reducing Your Risk Of Dementia

Alzheimers and other dementias are complex diseases. In the majority of cases they are caused by a mix of factors, called risk factors. Some of the risk factors for dementia, like our age and genetics, we cannot change. But there are steps we can take to look after our brain health, and to reduce our risk of dementia.

Just as we can protect other areas of our health, we can take steps to keep our brains healthy and reduce our risk of developing dementia later in life. Research has shown that our health in our 30s, 40s and 50s can have a particularly large impact on our dementia risk. However, its never too late to start thinking about our brain health.

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Take Your Brain For A Walk

Getting up and moving helps to keep your body and brain strong. Research is unclear on whether exercise prevents dementia, but there are many studies that suggest regular activity is good for your brain. One even showed low dementia risk among very fit women. Physical activity helps prevent other health conditions linked to dementia including:

  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Action Strategy: Just do it. Start small but make sure you start. Add a small activity, depending on your level of physical fitness. This could be as simple as walking up and down a hallway a few times or as challenging as a 5-mile hike with friends. Aim to fit 150 minutes of physical movement that gets your heart beating faster into each week.

Limit Your Alcohol Intake

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It goes without saying that if you’re wanting to lead a healthy lifestyle, frequent boozy nights aren’t often at the top of the ‘to-do’ list.

Consuming more than the recommended amount of alcohol – 14 units per week for both men and women – increases your risk of a multitude of health problems. This includes an increase in the risk of stroke, cancer, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Drinking excessively can also damage your brain.

You don’t need to cut out the odd tipple altogether, but do be aware of how much you’re drinking, especially if you already have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

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General Care And Support

If you care for or know someone who is living with dementia, it can make you feel frustrated and helpless. Its important to have people around who take time to build empathy and trust, and help provide a safe and predictable environment. Your emotional and physical support will be a great help to the person when the world seems confusing and hostile.

In some cases, its helpful to make changes to a persons home environment to help them feel less disoriented . Visit Health Victorias website for some ideas on creating ‘dementia-friendly environments’.

Risk Factors For Dementia

A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of developing a condition.

Some dementia risk factors are difficult or impossible to change. These include:

  • age: the older you are, the more likely you are to develop dementia. However, dementia is not a natural part of ageing
  • genes: in general, genes alone are not thought to cause dementia. However, certain genetic factors are involved with some of the less common types. Dementia usually develops because of a combination of genetic and “environmental” factors, such as smoking and a lack of regular exercise
  • lower levels of education

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Tackle Some Crossword Puzzles

While The New York Times Sunday crossword might not be everyone’s cup of tea, tackling word puzzles with some frequency could keep you sharp as a tack as you age. Research published in the January 2014 edition of the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society found that individuals with dementia who regularly did crossword puzzles slowed their cognitive decline. And to have some fun while keeping your mind sharp, try these 23 Super Addictive Brain Teasers to Test Your Genius.

Understand Dementia Risk Factors Based On The Cause

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Alzheimers disease is associated with sticky protein deposits on the surface of the brain. Vascular dementia results from atherosclerosis plaque buildup and narrowing of the arteries that compromise blood flow to the brain. We now understand that many people actually have a mix of both types of dementia, so its important to think about ways to treat or prevent both kinds.

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Keep Your Brain Flexible

Neuroplasticity is a big word for the brain’s ability to continue changing and growing. A study in the JAMA Psychiatry journal suggests that a flexible brain can slow dementia. The thought is that when you have more brain connections, you are less likely to suffer from dementia because your brain is more able to adapt and create new connections.

Action Strategy: Make a goal to use your brain every day. Whether it is learning a new language or figuring out your new phone. The more you continue to use your brain, the healthier your brain stays.

Obesity And Dementia Risk

Research shows people who are obese are more likely to develop dementia later in life. Some researchers say obesity should be considered premature aging, as it is strongly linked to chronic health problems in old age.

According to Adesola Ogunniyi, an author of the report and a professor of medicine at University of Ibadan, Nigeria, obesity is a risk factor for chronic cardiovascular diseases, which damage blood vessels in the brain and reduce blood flow. This leads to a cascade of inflammation and oxidative stress an imbalance between oxygen-containing molecules and antioxidants which would eventually lead to the death of brain cells.

Heres what you can do:Ogunniyi recommended losing weight, avoiding excess calories and reducing sugary beverages along with staying active and exercising.

Read more about past research on the link between obesity in midlife, body mass index and dementia

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