Lowering Dementia Risks – Look After Your Heart, Body, and Mind
The 2020 report of the Lancet Commission, comprising 28 leading experts in dementia, has identified 12 modifiable lifestyle risk factors that contribute to 40% of dementia cases in the world. While factors like your family history, age, and genetics are unchangeable, introducing healthy alterations in your lifestyle may help prevent or delay dementia.
Improve your heart health
Did you know health conditions that affect your heart, such as hypertension, obesity, blood pressure, diabetes, can increase your dementia risk? The risk can multiply if these conditions develop around middle age.
Here’s how to keep your heart healthy.
1. Eat a moderate, balanced diet, rich in healthy fats and variety like rainbow vegetables, nuts, fatty fish, dark chocolate, etc.
2. Avoid smoking, including, where possible, inhaling secondhand smoke. If you are trying to quit smoking, enlist the help of your family doctor or opt for less harmful alternatives.
3. Limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink a day and only if there are no existing health conditions.
Stay physically active
Staying active with 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week is a good indicator of body health. Keeping your body weight under the appropriate range ensures a reduced risk of lifestyle diseases such as high cholesterol, a decline in cognitive function, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Aim to include these suggestions in your life for good body health:
1. Get adequate, restful sleep every night. Avoid late nights and regular crunching of your sleep hours.
2. Take frequent walk breaks throughout the day. Avoid staying seated for long. Also, include stretches and strength training in your fitness routine.
3. Protect your head from injuries, such as a blow, bump, or a mild knock.
Take care of your mental health
Looking after your mental well-being helps you cope better with the daily stressors and keep your brain functioning solid and healthy. A lack of it can lead to depression – a risk factor for the onset of dementia.
Consider these for a healthy, active mind:
1. Challenge your brain with activities that you will enjoy frequently doing. For example: learning a new language, solving puzzles, reading books, and playing sports.
2. Staying in touch with your friends and family and volunteering at local groups or associations can help. Socializing can help keep depression at bay.
3. Speak with your doctor if you recognize depression symptoms in you or your loved one. Prioritize your mental well-being.
With age, expect delays and changes in the memory. However, look out for any behavioral changes that may be mistaken for general ill-health.
Taking care of a loved one with dementia can be challenging. If you are looking for additional support to meet the changing needs of your family member, please reach out to us at: www.affinityseniorcare.com or call Affinity at 248-363-8430. We will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with information and resources on specialized home health care.