People know there is a disease called “dementia” and it can lead to memory loss, but not everyone knows that it can also rob seniors of their dignity, and even lives.
What is dementia?
Dementia is an overall term for diseases characterized by long-term decrease in the ability to think and remember that is severe enough to affect a person's daily functioning. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. Dementia is difficult to manage. Alzheimer’s dementia can be even more so.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, the number of Americans living with Alzheimer's is growing fast. 5.8 million Americans are now living with Alzheimer's. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million. Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease.
So, how can Alzheimer's be prevented? Scientists have indicated that there are lifestyle changes ordinary people can make to reduce their risk.
1. Keep your heart and blood vessels healthy
Poor heart and blood vessels lead to lack of oxygen and vital nutrients to the brain, which can be linked to vascular dementia.
In order to protect the network of blood vessels in your brain, you should:
Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check
Keep a healthy diet including whole grains, fruits, fish and healthy fats
2. Keep your body active
Regular physical exercise may lower the risk of developing dementia as exercise may benefit brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow in the brain. Regular physical exercise can even slow the deterioration in those who have already had problems.
3. Keep your mind active
Many studies indicate that keeping mentally active and having social connections can lower the risk of cognitive decline.
To keep your mind active, you can learn a foreign language, do puzzles, play games or learn a new skill such as dancing and woodworking. You can also meet up with your friends or volunteers in your community regularly.
4. Be careful of the medicines you take
Some medicines and supplements, alone or in combination, can cause side effect that is like memory loss. Talk to your doctor to see if you can change medication to reduce these side effects.
In addition, though many ads for supplements claim that they can improve memory and/or prevent memory loss, there is no proof that they are effective. You should always consult your doctor before taking any medicines or supplements.