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7 Biggest Risk Factors for Dementia

Are you wondering about the risks factors for dementia?

It’s a fact that age, health and genetics all play a role in your risk for developing this illness.

Dementia is a disease that mainly affects the elderly. That means that once you enter your senior years your aging brain cells are more likely to degenerate and cause dementia.

Perhaps you or a loved one have been have been feeling disoriented and confused lately and have been wondering if you are experiencing the symptoms of dementia. If this is the case, it is helpful to know the risk factors for the disease and how you can go about minimizing your chances of getting it.

Here is a guide to the risk factors for dementia along with some tips about how you can reduce them

1. The Cardiovascular Connection

There is a connection between cardiovascular health and dementia. If you have heart disease or a history of heart disease in your family then you should be aware that it is one of the triggers for dementia. This is because when blood flow is inhibited to the brain due to heart problems, it can diminish your mental capacity.

The more you work to prevent heart disease by exercising, eating right, and keeping your blood pressure under control, the less likely it is that you will have dementia.

You can also stave off heart disease and dementia by eating a Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet includes the following foods:

  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Fruits
  • Leans
  • Fruits

When you have these superfoods in your diet you are well on your way to warding off dementia.

2. Diabetes Is One Of The Risk Factors For Dementia

Diabetes is one of the major risk factors for dementia. Once you have diabetes and get to middle age you are going to have a steeper decline in your mental functions compared to those who do not have diabetes.

That is why it is important to control your blood sugar levels because the worse it gets the greater the decline in your overall mental capacity.

You should also make sure you exercise regularly as this helps to regulate blood sugar. Be sure to talk to your doctor about a nutrition plan to help you manage your diabetes.

3. Depression and Dementia

Dementia is perhaps one of the biggest triggers for dementia. When you are depressed you tend to withdraw from contact with people. This kind of isolation can result in mental deterioration and trigger dementia, especially if you are elderly.

When you are depressed inflammation also takes place in the brain and this increases your risk for the disease. It is always a good idea to get treatment as soon as possible to decrease the chances that you will have dementia.

4. Head Injury

Protecting your head is a must when you engage in certain activities. If you go biking, skiing, skating or engage in other activities that can cause head injury, then you need to wear a helmet.

Once you hit middle age any injury that you sustain to the head makes it more likely that you will develop dementia and need memory care.

However, if you do happen to suffer a head injury you can actually decrease your chances of having dementia by engaging in hobbies and other mentally stimulating activities.

Additionally, it is interesting to note that even if the person is quite young, depending on the severity of the traumatic head injury suffered, they have just as much of a chance of developing dementia as an older person.

5. Sleep Problems

If you find that you are having sleeping problems then you should try to get some help in order to prevent this, since it is one of the risk factors for dementia. If you get up in the middle of the night gasping for breathe, this is a sign of sleep apnea which can be very harmful for your mental health.

Researchers have identified what is called the glymphatic system, which cleans the brain at night while you sleep. The glymphatic system washes out harmful proteins and other waste products during sleep.

When you have erratic sleeping patterns your brain cannot get cleansed properly and this boosts your chances of developing dementia.

6. Your Weight

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that obesity is one of the major factors in the development of dementia.

The metabolic abnormalities that can result from obesity such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease make it one of the key contributing factors when it comes to the development of dementia.

7. Smoking and Drinking

Smoking is bad for your health in general and helps to diminish your mental capacity. Studies have shown that smoking makes it significantly more likely that you will develop dementia.

The more you smoke the greater the risk. However, the sooner you quit then the more your risk will diminish.

If you are an elderly smoker who has been smoking all your life, it is still beneficial to quit.

Heavy alcohol consumption is another risk factor for dementia. Consuming heavy amounts of beer with is usually classified as five or more bottles a day or drinking a whole bottle of wine in one sitting makes it likely that you will develop dementia.

If you drink and smoke heavily then you double the risk of dementia.

Final Thoughts

There are several factors that affect the development of dementia. Not surprisingly, most of these risk factors for dementia help to deteriorate your overall health.

If you want to avoid dementia or slow its progress, the best thing you can do is to know the dementia risk factors and work towards decreasing them. The risk factors for dementia are health issues that can be solved by trying to live a healthier lifestyle.

If you would like more information on senior health and how to make life more comfortable for yourself or a loved one as you age then visit our website, we have a lot of information you are sure to find helpful.