Even though many seniors will develop dementia, it is not necessarily an automatic part of getting older. The cause of dementia is still largely unknown. Researchers say that only about 3% of people between the ages of 65 and 74 will develop the disease, and only 17% of seniors 75 to 84 will develop the disease.
Even though your chances of developing dementia are rather low, there still is the possibility. If you want to try to prevent it, developing a healthy lifestyle as soon as possible will help. Avoiding the following seven lifestyle factors will help prevent or slow down its development and increase your longevity.
- Lack of Exercise
The main factor in the development of dementia is the lack of exercise from an inactive lifestyle. Staying active with moderate exercise increases the blood flow to the brain. It helps new brain cells to grow, encourages new connections in the brain, and reduces harmful conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
- A Non-healthy Diet
Increasing the blood flow to the brain can only be beneficial if it contains the nutrients the brain needs. Eating healthy meals and leaving off the harmful fatty and fried foods will help ensure your brain is supplied with saturated fats, processed foods, and refined sugars. Eating more fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, and less meat provides the nutrients the brain needs.
- Smoking and Consuming Excessive Amount of Alcohol
Both of these known harmful habits have a strongly negative impact on the brain. Smoking restricts the blood vessels going to the brain and damages it, which causes slower cognitive speeds and lower IQs. There is also a loss of brain volume. It remains the leading cause of preventable death. Alcohol similarly harms the brain, and both habits promote dementia.
- Sleep Deprivation
A busy life often leads to emphasizing staying awake longer than is healthy. The average person needs between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is necessary for the brain to remove toxins that accumulate during the day. When it is insufficient, there is an increased risk of dementia and cognitive impairment.
- Stress That Is Not Treated
When stress is allowed to continue over long periods, the hormones that are released are harmful to the brain over long periods. The hippocampus, the part of the brain primarily responsible for memory, is reduced by long-term stress, leading to the increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Not Enough Brain Stimulation
The brain needs to be stimulated by challenges and exercised often. It is like a muscle that maintains function and focus by stimulating activities. These challenges can come from games such as chess, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, taking college classes, or learning a new language. Tests have demonstrated that these kinds of activities help the brain focus and with reasoning skills.
- Lack of A Social Life
Taking time to be with others helps reduce the likelihood of developing dementia. It also offers brain stimulation, provides emotional balance, and can help to reduce stress. Marriage can help prevent the harmful effects of loneliness and help provide mental stimulation. Both of these things help promote dementia.
There is no guarantee that dementia can be prevented, but it can be slowed if it should start to develop. Actively applying these seven things can help reduce your risk of the disease. If the signs of dementia become evident or mild cognitive impairment appears, seek a doctor’s help quickly and seek advice about dementia care.