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How to Reduce Your Risk of
Suffering from Dementia as You Age
Despite copious amounts of research into dementia and its various manifestations, scientists are still uncertain about what causes this condition or how it can be cured. However, their studies have revealed multiple actions people can take that are likely to help them reduce their risk of suffering from dementia.
Here are some of the actions that current scientific research into dementia suggests may be beneficial:
1. Engage in Regular Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise appears to have a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease, which is a type of dementia. In one study, researchers studied the effects of aerobic exercise as compared to the effects of flexibility training on subjects who suffered from mild cognitive impairment. According to the research, which was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, aerobic exercise was found to correlate with a slightly reduced amount of atrophy in the hippocampus region of the brain. This is a sector of the brain that is responsible for memory.
After having reviewed the available body of research, experts have concluded that aerobic exercise is likely to reduce one’s overall risk of suffering from dementia by as much as 50 percent.
2. Consume Turmeric Regularly
A study published in the journal Ayu: An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda reveals that long-term treatment with turmeric powder can make dramatic improvements in the behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease patients. This long-term study examined the outcomes when three dementia patients with severe cognitive decline were treated with turmeric powder capsules.
Before starting treatment, all three of these subjects had been suffering with multiple burdensome behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) including irritability, apathy and anxiety. Two out of the three of the patients had also been suffering with other symptoms including urinary incontinence.
After undergoing 12 weeks of treatment with turmeric powder capsules, the acuteness of their symptoms decreased in a noticeable way, and the burden on their caregivers was significantly reduced. After a year of the treatment, all three patients were able to recognize their families. These results were achieved without any negative, unwanted side effects.
Turmeric can be consumed as a food, a dietary supplement or a medicine. It is a broadly available, flavorful plant root with a 5,000+ year history of safe and effective use in India.
Related reports in medical literature have suggested that turmeric may have therapeutic uses in treating Alzheimer’s Disease because of the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-amyloid properties in curcumin, which is an extractable polyphenolic molecule that is present in turmeric. Historically, curcumin has been used in India to treat other largely unrelated ailments including arthritis, fever and liver disease. More recently, researchers have discovered that it also has the potential to treat depression, which is a mental health issue that some dementia patients commonly experience.
3. Get Enough Sleep
There is a known link between sleep and memory. Under normal conditions, your brain uses the time when you are sleeping to consolidate your memories and make them available to you for later recollection. If you fail to get enough sleep, this process will be impaired, and you are less likely to remember things.
According to researchers at UC Berkeley, deep, restorative sleep is a defensive measure you can take to protect yourself against Alzheimer’s disease. Their study revealed that a lack of sleep was correlated with increased levels of beta-amyloid plaques, which are a primary component in the manifestation of Alzheimer’s. These plaques have an apparent destructive effect on memory pathways. Adequate sleep helps to safeguard these critical memory pathways. To maintain a healthy mind, it’s advisable to sleep for a minimum of seven hours each night, although eight hours is ideal.
4. Keep Your Brain Active
“Use it or lose it” seems to be apt advice when it comes to brain function. It appears that cognitively stimulating activities might be beneficial for reducing a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and perhaps also for reducing the risk of it worsening once it has become established. The research on this is not at all conclusive or certain; it consists, in large part, of some observational studies that are not specifically able to pinpoint cause or effect. However, the research appears to suggest that cognitively demanding activities like playing games, putting together puzzles and reading books may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Unfortunately, once a state of cognitive impairment has developed, it can be challenging for a person to actually keep the brain active. This is because it can become highly frustrating for a cognitively impaired person to remember how to do things that were formerly easy or routine. All of a sudden, activities like playing games or learning new things present an increased level of difficulty that some find overwhelming.
However, this challenge is not insurmountable. The key is finding things that the patient finds enjoyable enough to persist with even if the task of learning it initially seems frustrating.
Touchscreen games could potentially be useful for this purpose. According to one study, dementia victims are able to successfully play touchscreen games like Solitaire and Bubble Xplode independently. Their research, which was published in the International Journal of Medical Informatics, suggests that the vast majority of participants enjoyed these games regardless of their familiarity or success with them.
Other similar possibilities for enjoyable activities that keep the brain engaged could include learning a new language, visiting museums, learning to play a musical instrument or creating satisfying craft projects.
Social isolation apparently makes you vulnerable to dementia by increasing your risk of losing a portion of your lifetime’s worth of brain reserves. Loneliness also negatively influences the human body in multiple tangible ways. One of these adverse effects is the promotion of inflammation in the brain, which can result in Alzheimer’s disease. Frequent socializing can help you to avoid loneliness, even if you live alone.
The majority of these actions are integral to leading a healthy lifestyle, so they are things you’d want to make an effort to do anyway. Knowing that they are likely to help you minimize your risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, you now have even more incentive for making the effort to do them.
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About the Author
Andrej is an entrepreneur, a digital marketer and an avid internet technologist. Throughout his career, Andrej has combined his passion for cutting-edge technology with a keen eye for emerging industry trends to deliver customised marketing solutions to businesses and clients around the globe. He believes that the key to modern marketing excellence is a constant willingness to learn and adapt to the ever-changing digital world.