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Are You Increasing Your Risk of Dementia?

By Sara Butler

If you’re concerned about developing Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, then there’s good reason to be. According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 10 percent of Americans over 65 suffer from dementia. If you live to be 85 or older, then that statistic jumps up to 33 percent. While that information is alarming, your dementia status as you age isn’t a foregone conclusion. There are actually steps you can take and lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your chances. Here are a few things you should avoid in order to reduce your risk of developing this disease.

Weight Gain

Studies have found that dementia is more likely in those with a high body mass index. For every 30 extra pounds you pile on, your dementia risk increases by a third. So, take steps to ensure you’re staying healthy and keeping your body at a healthy weight by exercising and eating right.

High Blood Sugar

It’s been understood for quite some time that a link exists between high blood sugar and dementia since elevated blood sugar levels are damaging to your organs -- including your brain. Even slight elevations seen in people with pre-diabetes have been found to increase inflammation and that inflammation has a detrimental impact on the function and health of your brain. So, make sure you have your blood sugar tested regularly.

Skipping the Fat

Eating healthy fats is important if you want to protect your brain (and your whole body). People who have been found to eat diets high in healthy fats also eat fewer refined and processed carbohydrates. These processed carbohydrates can make inflammation worse, leading to health issues such as dementia. You should aim for carbohydrates to make up less than 50 percent of your calories and focus on heart-healthy and brain-healthy fats that are found in things such as nuts, fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, and olive oil.

Not Getting Enough Vitamin D

Your body needs the sunshine vitamin in order to stay healthy and that only grows as you age. That’s because Vitamin D is important for many different bodily functions -- including brain health. People with Vitamin D deficiencies have been found to have an increased risk of dementia. So, make sure to get your levels checked and take steps to get enough if you’re deficient.

The statistics surrounding dementia are a wake-up call for many that caring for your health and your body is important as you get older. Hopefully, understanding what puts you at risk will help you take steps to avoid it.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sandy Springs, Ga.

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