9 Habits You Need to Adapt to Reduce the Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Updated on March 3rd, 2020
dementia and alzheimer's

A famous person once stated that the value of time and health is only appreciated when it is gone. As a person starts aging multiple health complications start piling up. From high blood pressure to diabetes and arthritis, the list is endless.

But one common disease faced by older adults is Alzheimer’s and dementia. In this disease a person tends to have improper mental health and loses his/her memory, thereby disrupting cognitive functioning.

Medications can, however, provide temporary relief but there is no cure for this disease. Thus, it is imperative to become proactive regarding brain health to avoid the occurrence of dementia and Alzheimer.

A healthy mind and active brain functioning can easily ward off any symptom of incurring dementia and Alzheimer.

What Is Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

alzheimers disease

One in every ten people has Alzheimer and dementia(1). This disease mostly affects older adults who are above 60 years of age. Nearly worldwide 47.5 million people are suffering from this disease. Every year 7.7 million cases of dementia and Alzheimer are reported, and this disease has now turned to be a global health hazard. Thus it is imperative to understand what dementia is and what preventive measures can be taken.

The term dementia doesn’t exactly mean a disease; instead, it’s a syndrome, caused as a result of some injury or any other condition that affects the human brain. Such injuries can occur either by accident or due to stroke or Alzheimer.

The severity of dementia, i.e., whether it is chronic or progressive can be differentiated only by noticing the decline in cognitive functions. A decrease in cognitive function involves loss of memory, loss of the ability to think, irrational judgment, loss of learning capacity, orientation, inability to calculate, language problem, comprehension, etc.

All this deterioration of brain function gets accompanied by changes in social behavior, emotional outbreak, and motivation. There are three stages of dementia. It starts with an early stage where people tend to forget small things such as the names of people.

But slowly its severity reaches the middle and last stage where affected individuals forget about their loved ones and often face an inability to commute.

Dementia not only has various stages but there are multiple forms as well and is one of the most common types is Alzheimer. Nearly 70% of people affected from dementia have Alzheimer’s. Besides, there are other forms such as vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies where there is an abnormal aggregation of proteins in the nerve cells. Another type of dementia is frontotemporal dementia which is a group of disease that affects the frontal lobe of the human brain.

A person can as well incur one or more type of dementia at the same time.     

Although no medical treatment can so far completely cure dementia, there is a certain effective measure for preventing dementia. These measures must be followed irrespective of the age group so as to avoid the occurrence of this incurable disease.

9 Habits You Need to Adapt

Alzheimer is the most common type of dementia found in older adults, the effects of which are irreversible. It can cause loss of cognitive functions along with behavioral change, and memory loss wherein a person tends to forget their identity(2). There has been no medical treatment for its complete cure, but the following 9 ways can help in preventing its occurrence.

1. Memory Screening

Age is just a number, therefore whether a person is in their teens or late sixties, every year they must conduct memory test. This test will be conducted for 10 minutes and comprise of answering the questions. Psychologists, nurse practitioners, doctors, pharmacists, and social workers can monitor the memory test. After reviewing the result of memory screening, a follow up with the physician is advisable.

[Read: Essential Oils for Memory]

2. MIND Diet

Mind diet, as interesting as it sounds researchers suggests that having this diet can aid in promoting a healthy brain. The mind diet is a combination of DASH and Mediterranean food. This diet mainly focuses on the consumption of leafy green vegetables, berries, fish, nuts, beans, olive oil, whole grain, and wine. While following this mind diet, a person must limit their consumption of fried foods, butter, fast foods, and cheese.

3. Omega-3 Fats

omega 3 rich food
Source: ShutterStock

Along with rigorously following the MIND diet, it is also imperative to consume food enriched with omega-3 fats. It can aid in lowering the chance of having Alzheimer and slow down dementia. You can find this type of fat in foods such as sardines, walnuts, salmon, flaxseed oil, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds. There are also some fish oil supplements that are a rich source of omega-3 fat. Besides, food items which have anti-inflammatory property such as turmeric and cinnamon can also help in preventing Alzheimer.

[Read: Health Benefits of Chia Seeds]

4. Cardiovascular health

High cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes are some common health hazard which affects numerous people and can eventually lead to cardiovascular ailment, which can, in turn, pose a risk for developing Alzheimer. Therefore along with treating these diseases, a change in lifestyle such as taking a walk for 30 minutes, having a healthy diet, and performing exercise can mitigate the perils of cardiovascular problem.

5. Mental well-being

It is imperative to stay mentally healthy to ward off Alzheimer’s because studies reveal that social isolation, depression, and propensity often trigger the development of Alzheimer’s. Thus it is evident to have strong social bonds to avoid isolation and depression.

Meeting with friends, going for a get-together, or even talking over the phone can be beneficial. It is essential to stimulate the brain and stay connected to someone all day for developing a human connection.

6. Stress management

Skyrocketing stress level and anxiety pose a direct risk for incurring Alzheimer. Studies show that people suffering from chronic stress often suffer from depression and dementia. In this case, yoga and meditation can be an effective way of managing the stress level. Besides, one can also visit religious places, or listen to motivational speeches to relax the mind.

7. Challenge yourself

For keeping the mind sharp and active, one can give self- challenge to reduce the occurrence of Alzheimer. The human brain always accepts challenges such as learning a new technique, or language and starts working even better than before.

One good way of challenging is by engaging in playing mental challenge games like crossword puzzles which keep the brain sharp. Such mental games often stimulate the part of the brain that involves communication, spatial problem-solving, language, and problem-solving skills.

8. Clinical studies

While thinking of new ways to prevent the occurrence of dementia, taking voluntary participation in a clinical study can be useful. These studies offer a clinical trial for people who do not show any indication of having Alzheimer’s or maybe are in their early onset of the disease or are in an advanced stage. These clinical studies aid in having in-depth knowledge about dementia and Alzheimer’s.

9. Stop smoking and exercise

quit smoking
Image: ShutterStock

A massive way to prevent Alzheimer’s is by controlling diabetes and hypertension. In order to ward off dementia or prevent its occurrence, a person must follow a healthy lifestyle.

It will include having a healthy diet, eating an adequate amount of berries, and performing exercise thoroughly. Besides, one needs to quit smoking and drinking and make an effort to lose some amount of body weight.

Although body weight has no direct connection with the prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s, it can motivate the mind and make the brain take active participation in performing an exercise, rather than sitting idle, getting depressed or engaging in having cigarettes and alcohol.

The human brain is one of the most complicated and least understood body parts. Although scientists are continually working to gather better information and bring remedies to brain-related diseases, there has been no cure for dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Thus it is vital to stay healthy and active by keeping the social connection, keeping the mind happy, having a proper diet, and protecting any damage to the brain. It is always said that if the mind is happy, then a person is free from all diseases.

So the more active the mind there is a lesser chance of incurring deadly disease such as Alzheimer’s.

Several people worldwide have been prey to this brain-related disease wherein they tend to forget their name, loved ones, and anything related to their past life. It can be fatal as it puts immense stress on the brain as one tries to recall the incidents.

Thus before progressing to an advanced stage of dementia and Alzheimer’s, it is essential to keep a check in its initial level.

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