What is dementia? Am I at risk? Can I prevent it? Isn’t it just memory loss in old age?
September is Dementia awareness month so it is the perfect time to ask these questions and to discover what dementia entails, who it affects, and how we can support those who are living with dementia.
“Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease. Dementia affects thinking, behaviour, and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Brain function is affected enough to interfere with the person’s normal social or working life.” – Dementia Australia
Types of Dementia
There are many diseases and conditions which cause dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia accounting for between 50% and 70% of all cases. Other causes include Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body disease, frontotemporal dementia, alcohol-related dementia, Down Syndrome, and HIV associated dementia. There are over 100 diseases that may lead to dementia but these are the most common.
How can I prevent Dementia?
Although there is no sure way to prevent developing the diseases that cause dementia, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk.
Reduce blood pressure and cholesterol for a healthy heart
A healthy heart is an important part of reducing the risk of developing dementia. Many of the diseases linked to dementia are caused by high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or obesity. Left untreated these conditions can damage the blood vessels in the brain to increase your risk of dementia.
Ensure you have a healthy diet
Fuel your body with nutritious foods. Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for nourishment, and be sure to avoid unhealthy fats that contribute to high cholesterol.
Look after your health by remaining physically active
Living an active lifestyle builds muscle, burns fat, increases your energy, and decreases your chance of disease leading to dementia.
Remaining engaged socially stimulates your brain as you engage in activities with others. This has a healthy impact on your mental health, heart health, and emotional well-being.
You can stay mentally active by exercising the brain through activities such as crosswords, strategy games like chess or cards, puzzles or simply be challenged by learning a new skill.
Where can I learn more about Dementia?
Contact Dignified Home Care to learn more about how we can assist you.