An Expert Guide to Reducing Your Dementia Risk
February 23, 2010
There are lifestyle changes you can adopt that may reduce your chance of developing dementia by as much as 20 percent. A panel of independent experts evaluated more than 70 research papers and articles to come up with this series of tips for reducing your risk.
What is good for the heart is good for the brain. Exercise can have a beneficial effect at any age to help protect against dementia. There is also growing evidence that regular exercise promotes cell and tissue repair mechanisms including growth of new cells in the brain.
Being seriously overweight is a risk factor for developing dementia. Obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure -- all known risk factors.
Normalize Blood Pressure
High blood pressure increases your chance of dementia by causing damage to your brain. This may happen as a result of a stroke, or because of microvascular disease, a condition which slows the flow of blood through your body, thereby damaging cells and nerves in your brain.
Avoid all Tobacco
As well as raising the risk of vascular disease -- a risk factor for dementia -- smoking can result in low oxygen levels in your brain, which in turn can promote the production of the protein found in brain plaques.
Follow a Mediterranean Diet
Several recent studies have highlighted the potential for this diet to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Further long-term research is needed to confirm the effects of eating this way.
Be Socially Active
Some evidence suggests that an active social life throughout life can be protective, with both the social ties one enjoys with others and non-physical leisure time deemed important.
There is some evidence that intensive brain training can improve reasoning and problem solving.