Developing dementia is a frightening concept. Most of us have had the painful experience of witnessing a loved one go through it.

Words cannot express the agony of watching someone’s mind begin to fail them or the realization that your parent or grandparent no longer recognizes who you are.

Unfortunately, dementia is incredibly common in the elderly. In fact, 1 in 14 people over the age of 65, and 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 develops dementia.

While there is no known cure or cause of dementia, we do know the risk factors. We know what aids in preventing dementia.

Avoiding these risk factors won’t guarantee a pass on dementia, however, it will lower your risk substantially.

Keep reading for our top 8 tips for preventing dementia as you age.

1. Rule Number One for Preventing Dementia – Stay Healthy

Preventing dementia can be almost entirely summed up in one phrase – “be healthy.”

While of course, it isn’t as simple as that, staying healthy in general is the best way to better your odds.

While healthy eating and exercise are seemingly over-promoted these days, there’s a good reason for it. Eating unhealthy is incredibly toxic to our bodies. Additionally, there are more people in the U.S. and the U.K. who are overweight or obese than those who are considered healthy.

Dementia is no different than other diseases in this way. The healthier we are, the less likely we are to develop it.

Eat Healthy Foods

A major part of being healthy and preventing dementia is eating good foods.

Foods low in sugar and unhealthy fats but high in vitamins and minerals are great for mind and body. The more natural and unprocessed a food is, the healthier it is for you.

Avoid high-fat and high-sugar foods. These will almost guarantee an unhealthy weight gain.

Fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats are the way to go.

Be Active

Being thin and eating healthy alone doesn’t make your body a lean, mean, dementia preventing machine. You must be active as well!

Physical exercise of any kind has tremendous benefits to the body and mind. The more you exercise, the healthier your mind, heart, lungs, bones, joints, and muscles will be.

Nothing makes you healthier than a good diet balanced with regular exercise.

Check out our article if you need a little motivation to start exercising!

Keep Blood Sugar and Pressure Low

One of the benefits of diet and exercise is controlling blood sugar and blood pressure.

High blood sugar and pressure can be damaging to the brain, lowering your chances of preventing dementia.

Avoid Heart Diseases

Heart diseases are commonly related to being overweight or obese. By remaining healthy, you reduce your risk for heart disease.

It’s commonly agreed among doctors and scientists that what’s good for the heart is good for the brain.

Heart attacks and strokes can cut off crucial blood and oxygen supply to the brain. This can increase your risk for dementia as well as paralyze parts of the body and worse.

Avoid Smoking

Everyone knows smoking is one of the most unhealthy habits you can pick up. However, there are still thousands upon thousands of people who do it.

Among many other negative side effects, smoking introduces many chemicals and toxins to the body and brain. These act as brain cell assassins, killing them off in mass quantities.

Get Adequate Sleep

Getting enough sleep is highly under-rated and highly uncommon. However, the benefits of adequate sleep are numerous and profound, including preventing dementia.

Simply put, our bodies recover and repair themselves while we are at rest (sleeping).

One of the cardinal rules of any sport is getting adequate sleep. For powerlifters and Olympic gymnasts alike, sleep is where progress is made.

Your brain is no different. It repairs itself while you sleep.

2. Avoid Head Injuries

It goes without saying that protecting the brain is best done by avoiding head injuries.

Research is now showing boxers, MMA fighters, hockey players, and American football players are developing long-term brain damage from their sports. All of these are rough, high impact sports.

The best thing to do is to avoid head injuries and activities that may cause them. Additionally, always wear head protection when the situation calls for it.

3. Keep Your Brain Active

Another way of preventing dementia is by being an eternal student. Learn new things every day. Study a foreign language.

Keeping your brain active and learning new things improves and maintains brain function. The neural pathways in our minds become stronger as we engage in learning and studying.

Puzzle games, reading, and even video games help keep our brains firing on all cylinders.

4. Maintain a Social Life

While social isolation has a very small contribution to increasing the risk of dementia, every little bit counts.

Lack of social interaction has been shown to lead to depression and poor health habits, which can all add to the risk of developing dementia.

Additionally, meeting new people, engaging in conversations, and learning new things keeps the mind active and attentive.

This includes people who already suffer from the beginning stages of memory impairment. It’s never too late to begin positive changes!

Learn more about social opportunities and treatments for people with memory impairment at Seasons Memory Care Facility.

5. Treat Depression

As mentioned above, depression can contribute to the risk of dementia.

Depression is a bit of an all-in-one when it comes to side effects and symptoms. It can also serve as a vicious cycle of sorts.

Depression discourages us from being physically active, social, or mentally stimulated. All these factors increase our risk of dementia.

Click here for a look at a mobile app to help with optimal mental health.

6. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Preventing dementia boils down to the dos and don’ts of healthy living. This includes limiting our alcohol consumption.

We all know that alcohol kills brain cells, much like smoking. However, it doesn’t prevent people from going out and getting drunk.

Unfortunately, with higher blood-alcohol levels comes more dead brain cells. Drink Responsibly.

7. Keep Stress at a Minimum

Stress and depression work quite similarly on the mind and body. They are mental and chemical influencers that impair our desire to be active, social, and healthy.

Additionally, stress can manifest in physical ways such as hypertension, headaches, backaches, and more.

People who already have mild cognitive impairment and high levels of stress are shown to be 135% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

8. Treat Hearing Loss

Hearing loss affects the brain in many ways. New theories are suggesting up to a 9% increase in the risk of dementia can be linked to hearing loss.

This is thought to be due to the additional social isolation and impairment in the way the brain hears and interacts with others.

The Fight Against Dementia

New studies are being done every day in an attempt to cure and prevent dementia.

Luckily, as more research is being done, we’re getting closer and closer to an answer.

However, until the day comes when a cure is found, understanding the risk factors and how to avoid them is crucial in preventing dementia in our own lives as well as those whom we can educate.

Check out our Dementia Page to learn more about dementia and what you can do about it.

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