Genetics play a major role in whether or not someone will develop dementia. Although, there are many other risk factors that are involved. The thought of developing dementia can be frightening and difficult to understand. Our age and DNA can’t be changed, but there are a number of things that can be done to ward off developing dementia. Eating a nourishing diet, living a healthy lifestyle, getting enough exercise, and staying social can protect us against dementia.
Age and Genetics
Aging is the greatest risk factor for developing dementia, which can’t be avoided. The risk for Alzheimer’s dramatically increases as we age, every 5 years after the age of 65 the risk doubles. Another uncontrollable risk factor is genetics. If dementia is in the family it increases the chances of having a shared gene that increases the risk for dementia.
One of the best ways to keep a healthy mind and body is through having an exercise routine. Staying active with a less-sedentary lifestyle keeps us fit and able. These healthy lifestyle choices keep us at the top of our mental game, allowing for healthy brain function. Certain indicators have been identified with dementia, such as:
- Lack of exercise: Minimally active people have lower levels of gray matter, the brain’s neuronal cell bodies, than those who are active. Having more gray matter means better muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control.
- Poor performance on physical tasks: Having difficulty carrying out tasks with slow gait, impaired balance, and low grip strength all correlate to increased odds of dementia.
Psychological factors are a lot more difficult to pinpoint than genetic and physical risks for dementia. Although, there is a link between being cynical and dementia. Along with neuroticism, depression, and social isolation being risk factors for dementia. Overall, most of these negative traits come from stress, distress only occurs when we have a negative psychological response to stress. On the other hand positive traits, such as advanced education, organizational skills, and being conscientious have been shown to offer protection against cognitive decline.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important factors for good cognitive health. Certain health factors or choices can lead to dementia, such as:
- Smoking: Smoking cigarettes increases your chances for dementia by 30%. Also, the more you smoke, the higher the risk. The good news is that if you stop smoking, your risk for dementia will be the same as if you never smoked.
- Alcohol abuse: Heavy drinking has been shown to lead to dementia. Those who consume more than 5 bottles of beer in one sitting are three times as likely to have dementia by the age of 65.
- Cardiovascular Disease: Heart and blood vessel disease accelerates the development of dementia. Having good cardiovascular health is important for maintaining optimal brain health and reducing cognitive decline.
- Diabetes: Those with diabetes have a higher risk of a decline in their mental function than those who don’t have diabetes. The worse their blood sugar control, the sharper the drop in mental capacity. Maintaining healthy blood sugars through diet and exercise is essential for maintaining brain health.
Fairmont Grand Senior Living Community
Fairmont Grand is a resident centered senior living and memory care facility in Rapid City, SD. Our goal is to create an environment where resident well-being is at the heart of everything we do.
Our wide range of services are designed to meet you or your loved one’s daily needs. We offer restaurant style dining options, a variety of physical activities, and give residents the opportunity to live as independently as possible.