If you have ever experienced a friend or a family member suffer from dementia, you understand how much of a heartbreaking and painful disease it really is. One in eight people over age 65 in the United States suffer from Alzheimer's disease. This number skyrockets at the age of 85, when almost 50% of people suffer from Alzheimer's.
Dementia is caused when nerve cells in the brain die or no longer function normally. The death or malfunction of these nerve cells, called neurons, causes changes in one’s memory, behavior and ability to think clearly.
Unfortunately, there is no sure way to prevent dementia because ageing is the biggest risk factor, and that obviously can't be changed. That being said, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk.
If you're 50+ and think it's too late to start trying to reduce your risk, you might be wrong. It is never too late to develop these good habits, but you should start implementing these habits in your mid-life, if you haven't done so already.
1. Work out your brain.
This could be something as simple as doing puzzles, crosswords, or playing cards everyday. Working out your brain can literally be anything that makes you think. If you want to challenge yourself, try learning something new, this is the ultimate way to get your brain working. Keeping your brain active will reduce your risk of dementia. Also, try being more socially engaged, try socializing often.
2. Eat better.
A healthy and balanced diet will help reduce your risk of dementia and heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
3. Quit smoking.
If you're not a smoker, don't worry about this one. By smoking you are at a greater risk of developing dementia and harming your lungs.
4. Keep a healthy weight.
Many doctors have said that what's good for your heart is probably also good for your head. So, this explains all of the body-healthy prevention tips. Keeping a healthy weight prevents type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease and therefore, also dementia.
This next one most of us do could help... But also occasionally make it worse.