How to reduce your risk of dementia or delay its impact.
Unfortunately, there are some risk factors you can’t change, these include:
Age: people diagnosed with dementia tend to be over the age of 65. Above this age, a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia doubles roughly every five years. Over the age of 80 there is a one in six chance of developing dementia.
Ethnicity: certain ethnic communities appear to be at higher risk of dementia than others. For example, South Asian and African or African-Caribbean people seem to develop dementia more often than white Europeans. Specific risk factors associated with these communities such as stroke, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, as well as differences in diet, smoking, exercise and genes, are thought to explain this.
Gender: more women are affected by dementia than men. Worldwide, women with dementia outnumber men two to one. Twice as many women over the age of 65 are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than men whereas vascular dementia is diagnosed in slightly more men than women.
Genetics: in rare cases, Alzheimer’s disease can be passed from one generation to another. This type of dementia usually affects people under the age of 65.
Although getting older is the biggest risk factor for dementia, evidence shows there are things you can do to help reduce your own risk. These include keeping active, eating healthily and exercising your mind.
Doing regular physical activity is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of dementia. It’s good for your heart, circulation, weight and mental wellbeing.
It’s important to find a way of exercising that works for you. You might find it helpful to start off with a small amount of activity and build it up gradually. Even 10 minutes at a time is good for you and try to avoid long sitting down for too long.
If you would like some support to set some goals to increase your levels of physical activity, get in touch with One You Lincolnshire or call 01522 705162. They can offer a variety of free bespoke options to help people be more active.
A healthy, balanced diet may reduce your risk of dementia, as well as other conditions including cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, stroke and heart disease.
Eat a balanced diet:
If you would like some support to lose weight, get in touch with One You Lincolnshire or call 01522 705162. They offer a variety of remote, digital and practical ways to help you lose weight.
If you smoke, you’re putting yourself at much higher risk of developing dementia. You’re also increasing your risk of other conditions, including type 2 diabetes, stroke, and lung and other cancers.
Smoking does a lot of harm to the circulation of blood around the body, including the blood vessels in the brain, as well as the heart and lungs.
Tips for stopping smoking:
If you would like some support to stop smoking, get in touch with One You Lincolnshire or call 01522 705162. They offer a telephone based support combined with Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to give you the very best chance of quitting for good. Support is free and you can self refer!
Drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of developing dementia
At most, you should aim to drink no more than 14 units each week.
Tips for cutting down on alcohol:
If you would like some support to reduce your alcohol consumption, get in touch with One You Lincolnshire or call 01522 705162. They offer a variety of bespoke support package to help you understand your relationship with alcohol and reduce your consumption. Support is free and you can self refer!
Keeping your mind active is likely to reduce your risk of dementia. Regularly challenging yourself mentally seems to build up the brain’s ability to cope with disease. One way to think about it is ‘Use it or lose it’.
Find something you like doing that challenges your brain and do it regularly. It’s important to find something that you’ll keep up. For example:
Talking and communicating with other people may also help to reduce your risk of dementia. Make an effort to keep in touch with the people who are important to you, such as friends and family.
Volunteering, or joining a club or community group are also good ways to stay socially active.
Mid-life is an important time to start taking care of your health, if you’re not doing so already.
It’s important to see your GP if you’re worried about health problems such as depression, hearing loss, or not getting enough sleep. All of these might increase your risk of dementia.