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4 Steps You Can Take to Help Prevent Dementia

Dec 05, 2023
4 Steps You Can Take to Help Prevent Dementia
Cognition is at the very heart of how we process information through thinking, and dementia affects those very cognitive functions. Here’s what you can do to avoid dealing with its effects for as long as possible.

Our capacity for higher brain functions is something we’re still finding out more about, whether it’s solving problems, processing languages, using our memory, thinking, perceiving stimuli, or general decision-making. These are all functions of cognition, and our ability to comprehend and learn wouldn’t exist without it. Using it, we interact and perceive the world around us, form impressions from sensory experiences, and even fill in the gaps when you struggle to remember something.

Problems that affect our cognition can affect a great deal of thinking and other processes we take for granted, and dementia is the term for conditions that have lasting damage on this part of our brains including damage that affects our memory and personality. Some forms of dementia can be reversed, and there are ways to avoid dealing with it. To better understand how that works, let’s examine what dementia is, what signs to look for, and what you can do to prevent it from happening.

Residents of the Norwood, Anderson, and Westside, Ohio, and Crestview Hills, Kentucky, areas struggling with the signs of dementia can find help with the extensive team of doctors at Riverhills Neuroscience.

Understanding dementia

Dementia is the generic term for the group of diseases and conditions that affect a range of aspects of your cognition, such as:

  • Memory
  • Mood
  • Behavior
  • Reasoning
  • Personality

The decrease of cognition directly affects the things you do everyday, and can be the result of many illnesses, including:

  • Vascular dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Lewy body dementia

Several other reversible conditions can lead to dementia, such as thyroid conditions and the effects of certain medications.

Dementia is more common as you age, and the chances of dealing with it increase in people over 65 and doubles every five years above that age. Estimates indicate that as many as half the people over 85 are attempting to cope with some form of dementia. 

Signs to look for

There are a range of symptoms associated with dementia, such as:

  • Problems coping with change
  • Changes in short term memory-making
  • Struggling to recollect words
  • Asking the same questions or repeating the same stories
  • Confusion about places people know well

It also presents difficulties following other people’s stories and conversations, losing interest in things you’ve been passionate about like personal hobbies, mood changes (commonly depression), general confusion, and difficulty performing basic tasks.

Methods of prevention

Overall prevention of dementia is difficult to determine, as one absolute cause has yet to be determined. Since a variety of factors contribute to your chances of dealing with dementia, it’s important to manage them as much as possible. This means doing things like:

1. Changing lifestyle habits

Smoking and drinking are habits that do damage to many parts of the body, including cognition over time, so getting them under control will help reduce their impact. Eating habits can also increase your chances of chronic conditions that affect your cardiovascular system which may also lead to problems with cognition, so eating healthier can make a difference.

2. Physical exercise

Making efforts to lose weight through increased physical activity can also make a difference, so starting an exercise regimen and sticking to it will help. This along with changing eating habits will help reduce the risks of other conditions that can contribute to dementia.

3. Managing chronic conditions

Chronic problems like diabetes, kidney disease, autoimmune diseases, and several vascular conditions can increase the risk of dementia as you age, so getting them treated is important to lowering risk factors.

4. Treating mental illness

If you already struggle with depression, anxiety disorders, or other forms of mental illness, you’re at higher risk of dementia, so management of these issues will help to prevent cognitive issues as you age.

Dementia can stem from many different issues, but there are ways to avoid or delay their effects as you age. Make an appointment with the team at Riverhills Neuroscience today to get help with the signs of dementia.