We have heard about how a person with Dementia declines mentally and physically. For some people, the symptoms appear rather quickly, and for some others, there is a gradual loss of cognitive functions.

What are cognitive functions?

This is a broad terms that refers to mental processes, e.g., decision making, perception, memory retention, learning, and language abilities. They are all linked to how and what we think about.

What is Dementia?

Dementia causes issues with memory and thinking. For doctors to diagnose Dementia, there must be a loss of cognitive function in at least two of the following brain functions:

  • behaviour
  • judgement
  • language
  • memory
  • thinking

It is important to know Dementia is not a disease. It can be caused by illnesses or injuries. Symptoms can be so mild that they go unnoticed or so severe that a person cannot be left on his or her own for the sake of safety.

Dementia is seen as one of the fastest growing health conditions worldwide. Nearly 10 million cases of Dementia are diagnosed annually. According to the WHO, the numbers are expected to triple in the next 30 years.

Is there treatment for Dementia?

Although there is no treatment for Dementia, it is believed a healthy lifestyle does help lower our risk of getting it

WHO guidelines

In May 2019, the WHO gave out new guidelines for people to follow specific steps to lower their chances of developing Dementia.

Today’s article shares not one but five healthy habits recommended by the WHO, to protect your brain and therefore cut your risk of Dementia.

Reduce intake of alcohol and cut back on smoking

The occasional alcoholic drink will not harm your body. There is medical evidence that light consumption may actually lower a person’s risk of Dementia.

The WHO has a research report that says too much alcohol can contribute to the onset of Dementia.

Scientific research already proves smoking increases your risk of Dementia. This is more so for people 65 years and older. The WHO’s recommendation – do not smoke!

Vitamins or dietary supplements

Advice from the WHO essentially says – don’t bother taking them. The reason for this is there is insufficient research to support claims that vitamin B or E pills prevent Dementia.

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise does wonders for our brain. People who work out regularly have been far less likely to develop cognitive decline when compared to those who live a sedentary life.

The guideline is to aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise (jogging, biking or walking) a week. This works out to just 20 mins every day or 30 mins for 5 days of the week.

The key word here is consistency. Start off slow and take it up a notch gradually over time.

Eat a diet that is well-balanced

Apart from preventing diseases and cancer, the benefits of a healthy diet also extend to the brain.

One recommended diet to follow is the Mediterranean diet, which mainly consists of fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil and coffee. This diet has been linked to a lower risk of dementia and is known to reduce cognitive impairment.

Don’t isolate yourself

There is not much evidence here, but social isolation does contribute to anxiety and depression in seniors. The WHO claims this is thought to speed up cognitive impairment.

Try to maintain a social support network or a good group of close friends who share similar interests. Interacting with other humans can help improve your mood, improved self-care and overall better health.

Conclusion: Keeping yourself active and leading a healthy lifestyle seems to lower the risk of getting Dementia. By doing so, you also contribute to your own overall health. Why not start off today itself to lower your risk of Dementia?

Today’s article provides a general overview of what people can do to lower their risk of getting Dementia. The article is not meant to provide medical advice, which should always be left to your doctors to dispense.

By Aaron
22nd December 23:00

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