Dementia is a term that describes a category of brain disorders that cause memory loss, difficulty thinking, speaking and problem solving as well as behavioral changes. Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological disease that is the main cause of dementia, but the condition can be caused by thyroid problems, depression, head trauma, vascular changes, vitamin deficiency and drug abuse as well.
If the root problem isn’t treatable, dementia can quickly progress and the symptoms will worsen. If it’s caused by thyroid problems, medications, depression or vitamin deficiency, however, it can be reversed. Time is of the essence in case of dementia, so you need to visit a doctor if you notice any symptoms.
Risk factors of dementia
Dementia can be caused by many environmental, physiological and lifestyle factors. Some of the risk are modifiable while others are not. Below you can see a list of 10 strategies that can deal with the factors and reduce the severity and risk of dementia.
1. Vitamin D
According to several studies, vitamin D deficiency is the main factor for the development of dementia in many cases. In order to increase your vitamin D levels, expose yourself to the sun more and eat vitamin D-rich foods.
2. Fish oil
Fish oil contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Low levels of the acid are related to cognitive impairment and dementia, which is why experts recommend consuming fish oil regularly to reduce the risk of the disease. However, consult with your doctor first as incorrect dosage may result in health problems.
3. Reduce the intake of anticholinergic drugs
Anticholinergic drugs inhibit parasympathetic nerve impulses. The parasympathetic nervous system is in charge of body functions that occur while the body rests and the involuntary movement of muscles in several systems. Most anticholinergic drugs such as sleeping pills, antidepressants and heart medications have been found to increase the risk of dementia, which is why experts recommend limiting their use.
4. Regular physical activity
Staying physically active is great for your body and against every disease. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week to stay in shape and prevent diseases.
5. B complex vitamins
Folate, vitamin B6 and B12 reduce the levels of homocysteine in the body, which is linked to numerous serious diseases as well as dementia. Take 500 mg. of vitamin B12 supplement every day to reduce the risk of dementia and other diseases.
6. Reduce alcohol and quit smoking
Smoking and alcohol abuse can lead to the development of dementia and significantly increase the risk of the condition. According to a recent study, smokers are 45% more likely to develop dementia, while people who drink alcohol moderately have the lowest risk of developing the condition. Stick to one drink per day and you should be fine – anything more than that significantly raises the risk of dementia.
7. Keep your brain sharp
You should keep your brain challenged with puzzles, Sudoku or learning a new language in order to help it function properly and reduce the risk of dementia.
8. Protect yourself from head injuries
Head trauma is one of the main risk factors for dementia, so make sure to wear a helmet whenever you ride a bike or motorcycle or when you go skiing.
9. Stay socially connected and interact with others
Regular interaction with people can reduce the effects of loneliness and prevent depression and dementia.
10. Keep your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels and weight in check
These parameters must always be in check as they may cause heart disease and dementia as well.