Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia are the most common types of dementia, responsible for up to 90% of cases of dementia.
Symptoms may include:
- loss of memory
- difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying
- difficulty in performing previously routine tasks
- personality and mood changes
There are over 50 million people around the world living with dementia. The number of people living with dementia is predicted to triple, rising to 152 million by 2050.
There is currently no cure for most types of dementia, but treatments, advice, and support are available.
Dementia knows no social, economic or geographical boundaries. Lack of knowledge about dementia leads to inaccurate assumptions about its effects on the person and their family and negative stereotypes about how a person with dementia will behave.
September is the World Alzheimer’s Month and this year Asphalion wants to talk about it because research suggests that leading a healthy lifestyle may help to reduce a person’s risk of developing dementia later in life.
In Asphalion, we have always been focused on helping to create a healthy, supportive, and safe work environment. That’s why we promote health and wellness programs to help and encourage our workers to develop healthy lifestyle practices.
Below are 5 ways to improve your health and reduce your risk of developing dementia.
1 Look after your heart
Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity all damage the blood vessels and increase the risk for having a stroke or a heart attack, that could contribute to developing dementia in later life. These problems can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices and should be treated effectively if they do occur.
2 Be physically active
Physical activity and exercise are powerful preventive medicines, helping you control your blood pressure and weight, as well as reducing the risk of type II diabetes and some forms of cancer. There is also some evidence to suggest that some kinds of physical activity can reduce the risk of developing dementia. The good news is that getting active is proven to make us feel good and is a great activity to do with friends and family.
3 Follow a healthy diet
Food is fuel for both brain and body. We can help both to function properly by eating a healthy, balanced diet. Some evidence suggests that a Mediterranean-type diet, rich in cereals, fruits, fish, legumes and vegetables can help to reduce the risk of dementia. While more studies are needed on the benefits of specific foods or supplements, we do know that eating lots of foods which are high in saturated fat, sugar and/or salt is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and is best avoided.
4 Challenge your brain
By challenging the brain with new activities, you can help build new brain neurons and strengthen the connections between them. This may counter the harmful effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia pathologies. By challenging your brain, you can learn some great new things. So how about learning a new language or taking up a new hobby?
5 Enjoy social activities
Social activities may be beneficial to brain health because they stimulate our brain reserves, helping to reduce our risk of dementia and depression. Try and make time for friends and family. You can even combine your activities with physical and mental exercise through sport or other hobbies.
Let’s talk about it!