How to Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

Dementia is a brain disorder that encompasses a loss of brain function in a variety of capacities, including memory, thinking/reasoning ability, judgment, language, behavior and personality. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's. Most forms of dementia are degenerative, or irreversible, but some types of dementia may be avoided if the cause is intercepted in time. There are ways to reduce dementia risk by as much as 20 percent. Following these guidelines will help you reduce your risk of dementia.


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    Get plenty of exercise. 5 sessions per week at 30 minutes each session is recommended for keeping dementia at bay. The exercise does not have to be vigorous, but it should at least get your heart rate up and have you breathing fast.
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    Avoid obesity to reduce dementia risk. Obesity may increase your risk for dementia directly and/or indirectly, as diabetes associated with obesity also appears to be linked to higher rates of dementia. Have your doctor determine your Body Mass Index (BMI). If your BMI is over 30 percent, then you are considered clinically obese, and at a higher risk for dementia.
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    Lower your blood pressure. Having a consistently raised blood pressure, especially during your midlife years (from age 35 to 65), causes damage to your brain and, in turn, increases your risk of dementia. If you have a family history of high blood pressure or are over 40 years of age, you should have your blood pressure checked regularly and take measures to keep it within the normal range in order to best prevent dementia.
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    Reduce your cholesterol level. High cholesterol, much the same as high blood pressure, restricts blood flow to the brain and causes brain damage, which can, as a result, put you at a higher risk of developing dementia. Alzheimer's, specifically, is caused by protein plaque build-up in the brain, which appears to be promoted by high levels of cholesterol.
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    Quit smoking. Not only does smoking promote vascular disease, a risk factor for dementia, but it also lowers blood oxygen levels, which, in turn, aids plaque production in the brain.
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    Drink alcohol moderately. While chronic alcohol abuse may trigger certain types of dementia, studies show that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol (1 to 3 servings a day) appears to protect the brain against signs of dementia.
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    Adhere to a Mediterranean diet. Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and olive oil and low in dairy products and processed foods appears to be beneficial in helping reduce dementia risk.
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    Maintain a healthy social life. Studies suggest that developing relationships and participating in social activities helps in preventing dementia. Likewise, social isolation is considered to be a risk factor for dementia.


  • Some studies suggest that training your brain through things like crosswords, puzzles and learning new things may help prevent dementia, but there is insufficient evidence to support those claims. However, it cannot hurt to try.

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Categories: Neurological Disorders