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How Can I Prevent Dementia? — an article on the Smart Living Network
January 20, 2008 at 4:50 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

How Can I Prevent Dementia?

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Doctors aren't sure of any specific causes of dementia; therefore there are no sure methods to prevent its onset. However, certain forms of dementia are caused by lifestyle habits and can be prevented. Other forms seem to be less prevalent in those who maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, and doctors do recommend a balanced diet and regular physical activity as means to prevent many age-related health problems. While some forms of dementia occur as a side effect of a condition or medication, other forms are untreatable.

Untreatable Causes Of Dementia

Dementia may be caused by any number of health conditions. Untreatable forms of dementia include dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, vascular dementia, AIDs related dementia and dementia from other diseases such as Parkinson's, Lewy Body dementia and frontotemporal dementia.

Treatable Causes Of Dementia

Some treatable causes of dementia include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Fluid build-up in the brain
  • Emotional problems, including depression
  • Reaction to medications
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Infections such as encephalitis or meningitis
  • Tumors
  • Long term substance abuse

These conditions can be treated with medication or lifestyle changes.

Preventing Dementia

While there are no proven ways to completely prevent dementia, doctors recommend certain lifestyle changes that may reduce your risk of developing dementia.

Healthy Aging

Healthy aging includes a number of factors. Maintaining physical health important in the prevention of all sorts of diseases, both when you're young and as you age. Maintain healthy cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and weight. Don't smoke, and limit your alcohol intake. Consume a lower calorie, well balanced diet and take a multi vitamin. Regular exercise will keep your body strong, bones strong and improve your balance, coordination and flexibility.

Mental Stimulation

Keep your brain stimulated. Regular mental "exercise" will go a long way to improve your quality of life. Those who engage their minds with books, crossword puzzles or plain old conversation have been shown to be healthier mentally than those who simply watch TV. You can even find one-person games to play to stimulate your mind back into activity.

Have A Social Life

Maintain a connection with people around you. Find activities you enjoy at church, in the community or at a gym. By staying connected socially, you can reduce the likelihood of depression common in the elderly, as well as build up a social network. When there are people around who care about you, there are people who you can talk to if you need help.

Talk To Your Doctor

Most importantly, talk with your doctor about any concerns you may have. Regular, open communication is key to a functioning doctor-patient relationship. You should be able to ask your doctor any questions you may have and expect a thorough, non-judgmental answer in return. If you notice any decline in your daily functioning, be sure to mention it to your doctor. Treatment is always more effective when the issue is confronted immediately.

Sources: http://www.webmd.com/brain/tc/dementia-prevention

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dementia/AZ00003

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