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How Staying Healthy Can Prevent Dementia

By Debra Rodzinak

Many millions people in the United States are currently suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  This number is predicted to increase three times by the year 2050.  Many people are looking for ways to prevent this horrible disease.  Currently, the scientific community has provided five tips that can help prevent AD and different types of dementia.

Walk Daily

There is not a direct link between intense physical exercise and the risk of AD.  However, the best way to slow the onset of declining mentally is a daily walk.  To increase brain volume, walk at least five miles per week.  An inactive or "couch potato" lifestyle has been shown to increase the likelihood of developing AD by twice as much. 

Attitude Adjustment

Those with depression and stress are known to be susceptible to the start of many long-lasting diseases.  In fact, depression has been shown to be an initial caution of dementia.  Those who have depression in midlife have a 50 percent increased likelihood of acquiring AD than their counterparts. 

A helpful attitude and finding a purposeful meaning for living can have a preventive effect on mental decline.  Volunteering, observing their faith, meditation, deep breathing, and professional counseling are all beneficial strategies that help.

Stop Smoking

With the vast number of studies on the negative effects of smoking on the body, it is not surprising that heavy smokers, those who smoke more than a pack of cigarettes daily, have a reduced amount of compactness of brain tissue when compared to those who don't smoke.  Smoking has been found to double the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.  The good news is that quitting smoking can reduce the harmful results of those who don’t smoke.  It is never too late to quit.

Hobbies

It seems that you can teach an old dog new tricks.  Learning a new craft such as knitting, or solving puzzles during mid-life can help cut the amount of lost memory by half.  Stop watching television and pick up a guitar.  Plucking the strings of a Fender stimulates the brain and aids in protecting rational thinking.

Social Interactions

An interesting finding is that one in seven people who develop dementia live alone.  Those who are socially active reduce their risk of developing dementia by up to 50 percent.  The positive effects of engaging socially include improving mood, developing a social network, and increased memory.  A recent study found that patients who were cruely altered by AD but had a large social network still showed high scores on memory tests.

Heart health and brain health are directly related, so get out, get social, and try new things to keep your brain active, happy, and healthy.

 

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