Is it possible to delay dementia?
It’s a question which seems to keep researchers intrigued and even though there are no clear-cut answers, research is being undertaken. It seems that there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk.
1. Can you keep your brain healthy by living an optimum lifestyle and challenging your mind regularly?
As we get older we often find that we experience memory lapses. We can forget where our keys are or what a phone number is that we used to know off by heart. This is a normal sign of old age, but it could be signaling something more serious like dementia.
Around 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia, which is one of the top three causes of disability in old age.
Analysis by Age UK has suggested that lifestyle was responsible for 76% of changes in the brain and that people could delay the disease by adopting or quitting certain habits.
Healthy habits such as regular exercise, a good diet and brain training, along with not smoking and only drinking alcohol in moderation were found to decrease the risks of developing forms of dementia.
2. What brain exercises should you do?
Those who constantly learn new things and who challenge their brains, are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. You should make it a point to stay mentally active, as well as physically.
There is a range of different things you can do to keep your brain in good shape. Some ideas include:
Learning something new, such an instrument or a second language. This will be time consuming, but it will keep your brain active for long periods of time.
Play board games or get together with some friends to play cards. You could even just complete a crossword or Sudoku puzzle in the back of a daily newspaper.
Adult classes are becoming more and more popular. You could book up sessions to something academic, or you could attend a beginner’s art or cooking class. You’ll keep your brain active and learn a new skill in the process.
3. But how does brain activity help in delaying the possibility of dementia?
Studies have shown that keeping your mind active could reduce the amount of brain cell damage that happens within Alzheimer’s sufferers. It could also support the growth of new nerve cells and prompt nerve cells to send messages to each other.
Keeping your brain active with various different tasks or exercises, could build up a reserve supply of brain cells and improve the links between them.
4. Eating habits may affect your brain too.
It’s important to remember to live an all-round healthy lifestyle. Eating habits that reduce inflammation and promote normal energy production are brain-healthy and should be adopted.
You should avoid trans-fats and saturated fats as they can cause inflammation.
Make sure you have lots of omega-3 fats in your diet too, such as cold water fish. Salmon, tuna and mackerel are all good options.
As you probably already know, fruit and vegetables are an important element in any balanced diet. They provide protective antioxidants and vitamins.
Although there currently isn’t a definitive way to stop the onset of dementia, there are certainly a few habits you can adopt.
Maintaining a healthy diet, making sure you get enough exercise and are doing daily tasks that keep your brain challenged, could all go a long way in terms of delaying the possibility of developing dementia.