A growing number of researchers are coming to the conclusion that DEMENTIA CAN BE PREVENTED or delayed if we just apply the right mix of Diet, physical exercise, intellectual activity, and social engagement. Of course, there are some built-in risk factors that we have little or no control over, such as:
But even in the face of these built-in risk factors, some researcher still believed that Dementia can be prevented or delayed.
With lifestyle changes that pay close attention to things that we can change such as:
Can Dementia be prevented by an increase in intellectual activity?
An individual at Quora.com defines intellectual activity as anything related to resolving something, whether it is using a synonym appropriately or solving a crossword puzzle. Basically, it is any brain activity that isn’t involuntary. Some people refer to it as a mental exercise. Examples of intellectual activity are:
When people keep their minds active, their thinking skills are less likely to decline.
According to Wikipedia, obesity increases the risk of all types of Dementia, especially Alzheimer’s Dementia. Obesity is a disorder that involves excessive body fat.
Activebeat.com defines obesity as a body mass index(BMI) greater than 30kg per square meter. The BMI is an indirect measure of body fat based on weight (in kilograms) and height (in meters). In the past, these measurements were used to estimate the risk of developing chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. It is believed that as many as 50% of adults have central obesity. According to activebeat.com, researchers now believed that there may be a connection between increased BMI and the development of Dementia.
Excessive body fat is usually caused by consuming excessive calories from food, and lack of exercise. Maintaining a healthy body weight or losing weight by way of adjusting your diet and exercising may reduce the risk of obesity. Too many calories is a sure way to acquire obesity. Calories are usually burnt by the body for energy. Consuming excessive amounts can lead to the body storing the unused remainder.
Can Dementia be prevented by adjustments to our diets? Some types of foods are more likely than others, to lead to weight gain, especially those that are high in fats and sugars. According to medical-news-today.com, foods that tend to increase the risk for weight gain include:
fatty and process foods
foods with added sugars such as baked goods
foods containing hidden sugars
sweetened juices, sodas, alcohol
processed high-carb foods, such as bread and bagels
some processed food products containing high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener
Consuming a diet that consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and water will certainly decrease the risk of excessive weight gain, obesity, and Dementia.
Some forms of Dementia can be caused or worsen by nutritional deficiencies. Studies have shown that high doses of folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 can be helpful in preventing Dementia. Diets high in vitamin C and vitamin E helps to prevent age-related memory loss and other degenerative brain disorders.
Can Dementia be prevented if the risk for atherosclerosis is decreased?
Atherosclerosis is the deposition of fat, cholesterol, and other substances into the inner lining of an artery. This can reduce blood flow to the brain, which can lead to strokes. Strokes can lead to Vascular Dementia. According to activebeat.com, a study at John Hopkins concluded that intracranial atherosclerosis significantly increases the risk of Dementia.
According to activebeat.com, approximately 23.6 million people in America have Diabetes and an estimated 1.6 million new diagnosed every year. Diabetes is a metabolism disorder. It affects the way in which the body metabolizes and utilizes digested foods. Most of the food we consume are broken down into glucose or sugar in the blood which provides the fuel and energy that the body needs. In order for glucose to pass through the bloodstream, insulin must be present. If insulin is not present or it becomes ineffective, the unused glucose builds up in the blood. If the body is no longer producing insulin, then insulin has to be injected into the bloodstream.
Type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for strokes. Strokes are the underlying factor in the development of Vascular Dementia. A Dutch study concluded that individuals suffering from Diabetes were at increased risk for Dementia, especially individuals receiving insulin.
Can Dementia be prevented by daily physical activity?
Due to the rapid rise in obesity and other health problems among Americans, The Department of Health and Human Services(HHS) issued the federal government’s first-ever physical activity guidelines for Americans in 2008.
Physical activity is any form of exercise or movement of the body that uses energy. Simple examples of daily physical activities are:
Chores around the house
Walking the dog
The HHS guidelines suggest that adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. The guidelines also suggest that for substantial health benefits, adults should do 2-5 hours a week of moderate-intensity physical activity or 1-2 1/2 hours of vigorous-intensity physical activity a week.
Physical Activity burns the excess calories that can cause obesity or diabetes, which can lead to Dementia.
I strongly believe that lifestyle changes that address intellectual activity, obesity, diet, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and physical exercise can go a long way, in preventing Dementia.
Teitelbaum MD, J. (2016). 7 Powerful Ways to Protect Your Brain and Prevent Dementia. Retrieved from https://www.betternutrition.com/seven-ways/ways-prevent-dementia
Brazier, Y. (2019). Obesity: What is it and what causes it?. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323551.php
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/be-active/physical-activity-guidelines-for-americans/index.html
Prevention of dementia. (2019). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevention_of_dementia#Diet
Lockhart, E. (2012). What is Diabetes?. Retrieved from https://www.activebeat.com/your-health/what-is-diabetes/
(2018). Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-examples-of-intellectual-activities