The treatment of dementia is ongoing research that has intrigued many. The thought of becoming incapable of doing simple activities and losing your memory has led to a race for finding a way to curb this disease. As 1 out of every 3 aged people dies of dementia or Alzheimer’s, it is deemed necessary to find a way to prevent the onset of these chaotic diseases.
As per the UN report 2014, the aging population is increasing and are projected to reach 2 billion in 2050. Thus as population ages, the risk of Alzheimer’s and various forms of dementia like mixed dementia, Vascular dementia, Frontotemporal dementia, etc. also increase.
Percentage of population aged 60 years or over, estimated for 1950-2014 and projected to 2050. The research also states that 54% of those aged above 60 were women, and 62% of those aged above 80 were women. Approximately two-thirds of people with Alzheimer’s in America are females. Thus making it evident that women are at a higher risk of developing this disease. This has led to research for ways to prevent the onset of this disease in women.
As the investigation continues, there is hope for aging women to pass their old days peacefully. A research initiative by Alzheimer’s Disease International shows that physical activeness and maintenance of healthy weight, together with brain activity, good education and social lifestyle can help delay dementia.
Godfrey and El-Badri (2009) have suggested few methods, especially for women, which can help delay the onset of this disease. Good eating habits, physical well-being, and well-maintained body have a positive effect on reducing the risk of developing dementia in future. To minimize this, things, like reading and playing mind games, are also helpful.
Education is also one of the things that can help to prevent the development of dementia. A study by Ochayi and Thacher (2006) in Nigeria highlighted the fact noted that all types of basic education can give protection against dementia. Physical well-being and tracking of mental health using applications like BrainTest also help delay the onset of this disease
As per the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine consensus report; Preventing Cognitive Decline and Dementia: A Way Forward, cognitive training, management of blood pressure and physical activity also have a positive impact and delay the onset of dementia.
There are easy ten steps by which women around the globe can slash their chances of developing this deadly disease. These are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle thus are long-term solutions to a healthier and disease-free life:
Exercise has a direct impact on brain cells as it increases blood and oxygen flow towards the brain. It has cardiovascular benefits. Thus medically approved practices are one step toward lowering risk of declining cognitive abilities.
Research also shows that regular exercise may protect hippocampal volume which is that portion of the brain which is affected first by the disease. Exercises like brisk walking, swimming, dancing, gardening, and cycling are suggested by physicians. Jogging for more than 15 miles a week also reduces the risk of brain diseases by 40%.
Harvard health states that exercise can prevent these disease or slow their progression. It recommends 30 minutes aerobic exercise, 3 to 4 days a week.
Research evidence has suggested that a healthy diet can also protect the brain. This includes limiting intake of saturated fats and sugary foods. Eating fruits and vegetables, together with whole grains also helps.
The type of diets which are deemed beneficial is the Mediterranean diet and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. A Mediterranean diet is made of little meat and focuses on, fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, whole grains and olive oil.
According to Harvard health following this diet improves cognition and thwart or slow progression of brain diseases. The DASH diet focuses on vegetables, fish, fat-free dairy products, fruits, whole grains, beans, poultry, nuts, and vegetable oils. It limits sweet beverages, sodium, sugar and red meats. Drinking pure fruit juices can also help prevent dementia.
Research from Vanderbilt University in 2006 found that consuming juices for more than 3 times a week could reduce the risk of developing cognitive decline by 76%. Another study conducted in 2014 found that fruits have fisetin; a compound that has cognitive decline preventing properties. It is found commonly in fruits like strawberries and mangos.
Fish is also really beneficial as it is high in omega-3 fatty acids that help in regulating clotting and building cell membranes in the brain, which protect against Dementia and Alzheimer. Research at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that diet plan called the MIND which is the combination of DASH and Mediterranean diet can reduce chances of Alzheimer’s disease by 53%.
A lot of studies have connected anxiety with cognitive decline. Recent research discovered that people with little cognitive impairment and high-stress levels had 135% more chances to develop dementia. Stress is chronic for your brain. It is necessary to relax to prevent dementia. Involve yourself in meditation, yoga, and breathing and find anything that calms you down, be it music, gardening, etc.
Lack of sleep also causes stress and increased cortisol, which increases chances of Alzheimer’s. As per Harvard health, evidence also suggests that better sleep can also prevent cognitive decline as it is associated with amyloid clearance from the brain. Getting seven or eight hours sleep per night is beneficial.
Research conducted by Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., co-director of the URMC’s Center for Translational Neuromedicine found out that a waste-draining system called the “glymphatic system” is active ten times more when asleep and removes amyloid-beta proteins, which accumulate into the plaques that contribute to Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Add vitamin K supplement to your daily routine as it is vital for anti-aging. Other supplements like Folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin B12, magnesium, and fish oil can also improve brain health.
Oxford University research showed that B12 deficiency can lead to brain atrophy as it can rip away fatty protective sheath called myelin around neurons. It can also cause inflammation which can destroy brain cells. So if you are 40 above take up to 1000mcg of vitamin B12 every day.
One of the essential things for prevention of dementia is the peaceful mind which can be achieved through meditation. Research conducted in 2013 showed that performing meditation and yoga led to less brain atrophy as it increases protective tissue in the brain. It reduces stress and cortisol hormone that is a cause of dementia.
A World Health Organization report from October 2014 discovered that smokers are likely to have 45% higher chances of developing dementia and also 14% of total dementia cases can be connected to smoking.
Dr. Craig Ritchie, of Imperial College London, found that patients with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels together with untreated diabetes have a higher risk of developing dementia. As inflammation of the blood vessel in the brain has a strong link to dementia, and it is crucial for people above forty to conduct regular blood pressure and cholesterol checkups and treat them.
Mental activities like learning new languages playing bridge and solving crossword puzzles can help prevent dementia. As per the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine consensus report; evidence, gained through ACTIVE trial, shows that cognitive activities can help improve better long-term brain functions and help maintain independence in activities.
As per Harvard health, observational studies show that social contact can help prevent cognitive decline. Learning new things can stimulate cognitive activities which help in preventing these diseases. Other studies also show that keeping strong connections and being mentally active lowers risk of dementia. The direct impact of mental and social stimulation is strengthening the links in the brain.