At Golden Heart Senior Care – Rochester Hills we provide in-home care for many clients with dementia who assume that their condition is just a normal part of growing old – and it most definitely is not! Dementia is the result of brain cell damage. Therefore, anything that is known to damage brain cells could be a contributor to the development of dementia.
According to HealthPrep the top risk factors for dementia are:
- Smoking – And if you are elderly and you smoke, you are at an even higher risk.
- Genetic pre-disposition – If a parent or sibling had dementia, your risk is greater.
- Being female – More women than men are diagnosed with dementia.
- Aging – The aging process effect brain cells and Alzheimer’s Association reports indicate the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease doubles every 5 years after you turn 65.
- Excessive alcohol consumption – Some studies have shown light alcohol use can even lower your risk.
- Type 2 diabetes – Even those who are not diabetic but have high blood sugar levels have an increased risk according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
- High blood pressure – Long term cases could block blood flow and damage small arteries in the brain.
- Atherosclerosis – Fat and cholesterol build up in arteries has been associated with an increased risk of dementia.
- Accelerated blood levels of homocysteine – Boston University researchers found that high blood levels of homocysteine (an amino acid) can double your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Obesity – Higher body mass index (BMI) levels will increase your risk.
So if any of the above applies to you, what can you do to minimize your risk and protect your brain cells? The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation recommends the following steps:
- Eat for brain health – Fish, nuts, and vegetables rich in vitamins, nutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids are key.
- Make sleep a priority – But don’t over use sleeping pills or alcohol to induce sleep. For tips on how to get a good night’s rest, contact the National Sleep Foundation.
- Exercise – Engaging in moderate aerobic activity for 30 minutes 3-5 days a week can improve mental function.
- Avoid and reduce stress – Know what your stress triggers are and avoid them, but also engage in stress reducing activities like yoga. The Center for Disease Control offers stress-reducing tips.
- Be social – Regular social interaction can alleviate anxiety and depression, both of which impairs cognitive health.
- Keep learning – Stimulate your brain cells by challenging yourself intellectually. Take a class or learn a new skill.
For more information about dementia, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website at www.alz.org.
For more information about Golden Heart Senior Care – Rochester Hills, call (248) 469-0021, ext. #1 or visit www.goldenheartrochesterhills.com.