6 Key Lifestyle Changes That Can Help You Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Did you know that Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the US? Alzheimer’s kills more people than prostate cancer and breast cancer combined.
The medical community puts the focus slowing the progression of the disease instead of focusing on preventing it.
Reality is that a couple of lifestyle changes can help you protect your brain from cognitive decline.
What is Dementia
“Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life… Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.”- According to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Characteristic about Dementia is the impairment of at least 2 of these mental functions: communication and language, memory, reasoning and judgment, visual perception and ability to lose focus and pay attention.
The disease is progressive, it gets worse as the condition progresses. It can start by forgetting where you put your keys and end up forgetting your family.
Dementia causes brain cell damage and it affects movement, judgment, thinking, feelings and behavior.
Here are some of the risk factors:
- Impaired thyroid function
- Head injuries
- Low physical activities
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Poor diet and vitamin deficiencies
- Some medications
- Old age
- Alcohol use
- Old age
- Family history of Alzheimer’s disease
Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, 60-80% of the cases.
Early signs of Alzheimer’s include having difficulties remembering recent conversations, names, locations, impaired communication, disorientation, confusion as well as depression and apathy.
6 Natural Tricks for Preventing Alzheimer’s:
1. Quit Smoking
“While smoking has long been known to increase the risk of dying from cancer and heart disease, researchers in Finland say they’ve found strong reason to believe that smoking more than two packs of cigarettes daily from age 50 to 60 increases risk of dementia later in life. Former smokers or people who smoked less than half a pack per day did not appear to be at increased risk of developing dementia,” according to the Web MD.
Smoking contributes to inflammation and oxidative stress. Many studies have confirmed the link between smoking and Alzheimer’s.
2. Vitamin B
Vitamin B reduces the levels of HC, molecule called homocysteine in your blood. That molecule damages the vascular system and can cause strokes and heart diseases.
Raised homocysteine levels can cause poor brain performance and initiate cognitive impairment which increases the risk of dementia. It’s proven that B vitamins can slow down brain atrophy in patients that suffer from MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment).
Thiamine, another B vitamin helps the brain cells produce energy from sugar to ensure proper brain function. Make sure that you include more vitamin B rich foods in your diet.
3. Vitamin D
More than 75% of the world population suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is produced when your skin is exposed to direct sunlight. Vitamin D is key to having great mental health and cognitive function.
A study done among 1600 seniors have linked vitamin D deficiency with Alzheimer’s.
“Those who were severely deficient in vitamin D were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s and dementia than those who had adequate levels,” writes Alzheimer’s.net on the study.
4. Train your brain
Learning forces your brain to reorganize and to make room for the new knowledge. This way your brain creates new neuropathways that connects new and existing information.
One study showed that bilingual people delay the onset of Dementia in patients by 4 years. Train your brain, use puzzles, Sudoku, play challenge games, crosswords, take a new class, constantly learn.
5. Control your alcohol intake
Alcohol related brain damage can cause Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and alcoholic dementia. The good thing is that both illnesses are reversible if you stop using alcohol.
The risk of getting Alzheimer’s and some vascular disease increases when you constantly drink alcohol.
6. Prevent head injuries
A head injury can cause short term dementia like symptoms as memory loss, confusion, changes in speech, vision etc. Some head injuries can increase the risk of getting dementia in older years.
Protect your head, wear helmet when riding a moto, bike, skating, skiing and when doing water sports.