These 5 Lifestyle Changes Can Help Prevent Dementia

Dementia is a terrifying disease that affects 50 million people worldwide. And unfortunately, there is no cure for it, which is why prevention is so crucial.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released its first guidelines to reduce the risk of dementia globally. “In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. “We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia. The scientific evidence gathered for these guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain.”

The guidelines, which come in the form of a 78-page report, spells out what the organization thinks will and won’t help reduce a person’s risk of developing dementia.

“It is exciting to see a major organization recognize that the collective scientific and clinical evidence is now strong enough to formally recommend adopting healthy lifestyle habits for brain health,” says David A. Merrill, MD, PhD, a neurologist and geriatric psychiatrist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. “We have observed this anecdotally for a number of years in a clinical setting.”

What are the signs of dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe the loss of cognitive functioning, like thinking, remembering, and reasoning, as well as behavioral abilities that interferes with a person’s daily life and activities, according to the National Institute on Aging. The signs of dementia may include trouble with memory, language skills, visual perception, problem solving, self-management, and the ability to focus and pay attention.

There are many types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal disorders, and vascular dementia. While dementia is more common as people get older, it’s not a normal part of aging and can even be fatal.

Lifestyle factors are important, according to the WHO report, which recommends that people do the following to lower their risk of developing dementia:

1. Don’t drink too much

There tends to be a consistently lower risk of dementia when someone drinks moderately, but the risk goes up as you drink more. “It may be due to toxicity to brain cells,” says Jason Karlawish, MD, co-director of the Penn Memory Center. The WHO recommends drinking at a “non-harmful level,” which is having up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

2. Exercise regularly

Exercise is important for two reasons, says Dr. Karlawish. “Exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, and there’s ample data that if you can improve cardiovascular health you can reduce risk of developing dementia,” he says. “There’s also evidence that exercise may have a direct effect of maintaining the health of brain cells.”

High levels of activity seem to be the most protective, the WHO says. Currently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting 150 minutes or more of physical activity a week.

3. Don’t smoke

“Tobacco dependence is the leading cause of preventable death globally,” the WHO report states. Not only does tobacco use increase your risk of heart disease and cancer, but studies show that it can lead to cognitive decline, directly impacting your brain health.

4. Manage blood pressure

A high blood pressure (aka a reading that is 140 or higher over 90 or higher, per the American Heart Association) has been linked to a greater dementia risk.

5. Maintain a healthy weight

Having high blood pressure and being overweight have also been linked to heart disease, spiking your dementia risk, Dr. Karlawish says. The WHO specifically recommends maintaining a BMI under 25.

Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp
Pinterest
Reddit
Delicious
LinkedIn
Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

READ NEXT

6 Reasons You Have Bad Breath 

You shouldn’t ignore bad breath. What you eat and drink can cause halitosis. Foods are absorbed into your bloodstream and move to the lungs, affecting the air your exhale. Brushing

6 Bad Habits Doctors Want You to Break

Everyone has bad habits they want to break, but instead of scorning yourself for being helpless to break them, use the fundamentals of forming habits to your advantage. Habits, good

9 Common Skin Disorders You Should Know About

Just like any other disorder, skin conditions can be manifested by various symptoms that act differently from person to person, and their intensity can be mild or more severe, painless,

7 Diseases That Affect More Women Than Men

Due to variations in genes, anatomy, and hormone levels, some diseases attack women more often than men, and vice-versa. If you’re a woman, you should be aware of your increased

7 Medical Reasons for Brain Fog

Unable to gather your thoughts, confused, or forgetful? The conditions below may be why you have brain fog; try these strategies to clear your mind. Take inventory of your medications

10 Things You Had No Idea Were Bad for Your Mental Health

The term “mental health” is often used in reference to conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia. But actually, “mental health” refers to our overall emotional,

Check Out Why Too Much Sugar Is Bad for You

Sugar consumption is a major cause of many chronic diseases and obesity. Unfortunately, many people are tempted to consume processed foods for meals and snacks and since these products contain

8 Reasons You’re Always Cold 

Certain medical conditions can cause your hands and feet to always feel chilled. As anyone who has worked in a shared office space can tell you, people have different body

Common Habits to Have a Healthier Thyroid

According to the American Thyroid Association, about 20 million Americans have a thyroid condition—and of those 20 million, a staggering 60 percent aren’t aware of it. The hormones that are

Natural Beauty Products Doctors Actually Recommend

Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara ($21) “This mascara adds volume without flaking or clumping. And it doesn’t irritate my eyes, thanks to its lightweight mineral pigments.” —Kimberly Snyder, a

6 Reasons Why You’re Over-Sweating After 40

As we already know, sweating happens after making physical efforts, being stressed or standing in the heat – but why does it happen after 40 years old? Well, menopause can

Scroll to Top