Dementia has become a matter of great importance in the field of neuroscience. A number of research studies are being conducted to know more about this certain condition. Medical scientists are putting in a great amount of effort to know what exactly causes dementia? Some have argued that it is inherited, passing from one generation to the other. If you have a family history characterized by dementia, then you are far more likely to be at risk as well. While on the other hand, some scientists believe that the disease may entirely be because of the environment. Either way, one exact cause is still relatively unknown.
In the light of the above discussion, there is one important thing to note as well. You may not be in a position to get hold of the cause or causes, but you can do something else. Research studies at the same time have argued that a healthy lifestyle decreases the associated complications. A healthy lifestyle is vital not just for preventing dementia. It can help in dealing with a whole range of other diseases including stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
Who is at risk?
For every disease, some people are more vulnerable than others. The risk factors in a certain group may be more compared to rest. Though dementia can affect nearly anyone, you still need to keep yourself aware of some of the associated risk factors.
Age is a complicated and one common contributor towards dementia. Some people link the disease as a mandatory part of ageing. However, that is not necessarily the case. As you grow older, you may increase your risk factor for dementia. That still does not mean that you will for certain be inflicted with the condition. There is a relationship between older age and dementia however it is not always the other way round.
Studies are being conducted to analyze the relationship between dementia and genes. Some scientists have put the proposition that the condition is hereditary. However, with new research, we have been told otherwise. There is now a general consensus that there exists no single gene that may cause dementia. Yet, the combination of certain genetic materials with the environment may greatly increase your risk factor. For example, if you smoke regularly then your genetic set up may get disrupted. This, in turn, can lead to the development of the illness.
Now depression is one interesting and rather an unusual risk factor. If you suffer from the problem of depression, then you are likely to suffer from dementia as a result. Particularly, when depression is left untreated in most cases, the chances increase greatly. Thereby, if you find yourself to be suffering from high levels of induced stress, then that should be a matter of concern. If you don’t see a professional timely, then the problem can further translate into dementia.
There are certain risk factors present that can make you vulnerable to the condition. However, medical scientists have at the same time argued that it is important to make amendments in your daily lifestyle. By doing so, you can bring your chances of infliction by almost 40%. These amendments include making changes in your diet plan and physical exercise etc. Let us now look into that.
Diet & Dementia
Experts believe that there exists a link between what you eat and dementia. The link that is established is based on the following reasoning. What is good for your heart is also good for your brain. So, if you eat food items that are considered to be harmful to your heart then your brain functioning will be affected too. It is reasonable to infer that foods that are high in fat content will put you at a risk for dementia.
According to research studies, a diet that consists of high saturated fats, sugar and is low in fiber will greatly increase the risk. These food items make you obese and increase the chances for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Thereby, as a viable recommendation, include items that are not high in these three contents. A diet plan characterized by a good amount of fruits and vegetables will reduce the chances of dementia.
Obesity & Dementia
There is an obvious link between obesity and dementia. As mentioned before, what harms your heart at the end of the day affects your brain functioning. When you eat too much fat, you increase your chances of high blood pressure and raised levels of cholesterol. Both the situations are worrisome as they are contributors towards Dementia. As obesity puts you at a risk of both, we can say that it is important to remain physically fit as a preventive measure.
The first step in that regard is to know where you stand in the BMI index. If you lie in the normal weight range, then it should not be a major concern. Even when you are overweight, you might just need to shed off little fat from your body. However, if you fall under the obese category, then the situation can be alarming.
There is no one straightforward way to lose weight. Starting off by formulating a physical activity program may do you good. Moreover, try including healthy components in your diet that happen to be low in calories. In addition, keep a regular check on your weight in order to be well aware of things.
Smoking/Drinking & Dementia
A very recent study that came up suggested that drinking alcohol yields no benefits. Rather the harmful effects are far more consequential. In relation to dementia, drinking can cause complications that result in the disease. If you drink excessively, then you are putting your brain function at a greater amount of risk. It is believed that heavy drinkers suffer from problems like heart disease and stroke. This further leads to the development of dementia within these drinkers. So as a mandatory step, it is important to cut down to not more than three glasses in a week.
Like drinking, smoking has also a very unfortunate link with dementia. The reason is that tobacco when it enters the body constrict the blood vessels. This, in turn, makes it difficult for the blood to flow. The consequence of which is raised levels of blood pressure. High BP is linked with greater chances of dementia within people.
To overcome this problem in its entirety, it is pertinent to quit smoking overall. If quitting seems difficult, resort towards therapy. The therapist will guide you on a step by step procedure to get over the addiction. Either way, it is important to acknowledge the fact that smoking is a major contributor to dementia.