Dementia - Prevention

What can I do to reduce my risk of dementia?

Excitingly, research over the last couple of decades has shown clearly that there are many things we can do to reduce our risk of dementia. It is best that these things are done earlier rather than later but it is never too late to start.

Here are some important areas to optimise to reduce the risk of poor brain health, including dementia.

Optimise Brain Health

In general, a Mediterranean style diet (or mind diet) is recommended. This is easy to follow and has a variety of macro and micronutrients that are beneficial to the brain. Minimising sugar, saturated fat and processed foods are also recommended.

There is evidence of a two-way relationship between poor sleep and dementia and research does suggest that chronically poor sleep may increase the risk of dementia developing. There can be many causes of sub-optimal sleep and these need to be addressed comprehensively.

This is as critical for brain function as it is for other aspects of physical health, as well as mental health. Exercise improves vascular health and produces neurotrophins which are important for maintenance of brain health and neurogenesis - the growth of new nerve cells.

Social connection
Humans are inherently social beings, and when we feel isolated and lonely this can have a detrimental affect on many aspects of copying, including brain health. Much of this is driven by inflammation. It is important to make sure that you feel adequately connected to others.

Alcohol and other drugs
Excessive use of alcohol over a long period has clearly been shown to cause damage to the brain and may result in dementia.

Vascular health
The brain needs an adequate blood supply at all times and anything that compromises this can be a problem. It is important that things like BP, blood cholesterol and blood sugar are all adequately treated.

Poor hearing is known to be a risk factor for the cognitive decline including dementia. It is often easily fixed and should be addressed as soon as possible.

Mental health
High levels of chronic stress as well as depression can impair brain function and health and may result in dementia if left untreated.

These are just some of the risk factors which are modifiable. At our clinic, we do our best to advise and support you to optimise your lifestyle choices and health to benefit your brain.

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