Different ways to delay the onset of dementia.
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Over the past few weeks I spoke about the interesting topic of dementia. We went over the types, diagnosis, causes and treatments.
To summarise, dementia is a syndrome that is characterised by impairment in thinking and memory leading to the disturbance of daily life activities. I thought the best way to end this topic is to talk about methods that might hinder its progression or even prevent dementia.
Just like any medical illness, prevention is divided into pharmacological (with the use of medicines) and non-pharmacological (without the use of medicines). Lifestyle modification
* Mentally stimulating activities are important such as puzzles, word games and memory training. Regularly keeping your brain active may delay the onset of dementia and help decrease its effects. * Physical activity and social interaction may also delay the onset of dementia and reduce its symptoms. Regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke and keeps your brain active. * Quitting smoking also reduces the chance of strokes, cancers and heart disease and, in turn, might help prevent dementia. * Lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure may lead to a higher risk of some types of dementia like vascular dementia (related to strokes) * Pursue education which may help your brain develop a strong nerve cell network that compensates for nerve cell damage caused by Alzheimer's disease. In other words, the more active you keep your brain, the more brain tissue reserve you will have that will help replace damaged tissue which occurs with dementia. * Eating a healthy diet which is rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in certain fish and nuts, may promote overall health and lower your risk of developing dementia. * Excessive alcohol consumption can also increase the risk of dementia by worsening high blood pressure and cholesterol. * Too much sleep (more than nine hours a day and excessive daytime napping) or too little sleep may also be associated with a higher risk of dementia. * Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is related to diabetes, high blood pressure and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (excessive snoring with low oxygen level in the blood during sleep) which increases the risk of dementia. Medications * Medications that control certain chronic medical conditions are important to prevent dementia including blood pressure or diabetes tablets. * There are still studies undergoing which show that non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as aspirin or ibuprofen and steroid hormone might reduce the risk of dementia.
There is no doubt that prevention is better than cure. Leading a healthy lifestyle and controlling your chronic medical conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes under the supervision of your doctor can slow down the progression of dementia and may even prevent it altogether.
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