More insightful findings have been discovered on the Alzheimer’s/dementia front. This time, it’s about risk factors that can be modified to help prevent dementia. Experts have revealed 12 modifiable risk factors for dementia, which could prevent a significant number of cases if avoided. According to The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal, “Together the 12 modifiable risk factors account for around 40% of worldwide dementias, which consequently could theoretically be prevented or delayed.”
So, what are the risk factors?
Some are what you would expect, such as lack of exercise, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and not eating a healthy diet, which raises the risk of diabetes — all of which can be tweaked with simple lifestyle changes.
The others, though, you may find a bit surprising:
Experts believe that hearing loss is a risk factor for dementia, and that people should make use of hearing aids if they’re having trouble with their ears.
Maintaining a systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or less can help to cut your risk of dementia. An excellent way to lower high blood pressure is through diet, avoiding stress, drinking less, and not smoking. It goes without saying that high blood pressure can lead to a myriad of health complications outside of dementia.
This is a no brainer. Head injuries can be hard to avoid, especially if you work in a profession where they are more common. It’s vital that you take precautions such as wearing a helmet. Speaking of helmets, if you cycle, wear one. It could be the difference between life or death. Or at the very least, quality of life later down the road.
Depending on where you live, this one can be tricky. There are small ways you can reduce your exposure, such as exercising away from high pollutant areas and staying indoors when the air quality is unfavorable.
While physical activity is essential, keeping your brain active is also key to avoiding dementia. This can include solving puzzles, reading, or other such brain-stimulating challenges to keep your mind well-trained and lively.
Researchers have found in studies in mice that lack of sleep could be linked to Alzheimer’s. Though the researchers said the link between dementia and sleep needs further investigation in humans, it’s safe to say that getting good quality sleep is vital for your overall health.
Most of these risk factors are entirely avoidable with these dozen or so tweaks to your daily life. You can add years of quality of life as you age. The authors of the report in The Lancet stress that “it is never too early and never too late in the life course for dementia prevention.”
You know what they say… “An ounce of prevention is worth is worth a pound of cure.”