Certain lifestyle choices can reduce your chance of developing dementia.
There are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, and that number is only expected to rise. While there is no single cause of the disease that has yet been identified, there are a number of uncontrollable risk factors, such as age, genes and medical history. However, certain lifestyle choices are also thought to increase your chance of developing dementia.
Here are a few practical steps you can take to reduce your risk:
1. Manage your blood pressure and cholesterol
According to Blood Pressure UK, vascular dementia develops when a disruption in the blood system stops replenishing the brain. Therefore, any condition that weakens the blood vessels can lead to this type of dementia, so it’s very important to monitor and manage your blood pressure and cholesterol. Talk to your doctor about whether or not you need to lower your levels.
2. Eat a well-balanced diet
Because high blood pressure and cholesterol levels can increase your risk of dementia, it’s important to eat a well-rounded diet. Limit your consumption of salt and foods that are high in saturated fats. Instead, stick to a low-fat, high-fibre regime that includes a variety of fruit and vegetables, proteins and wholegrains.
3. Exercise regularly
When you exercise on a regular basis, you regulate your heart and blood circulatory system, according to the NHS. Physical fitness also contributes to maintaining your blood pressure and cholesterol. Older adults are recommended to dedicate at least 150 minutes every week to moderately intense exercise, such as brisk walking to cycling. Talk to your GP before starting any exercise programme.
4. Stop smoking
Smoking is a harmful habit that can lead to cancer, heart disease and stroke. Alzheimer’s Research UK reported that smoking can also increase your chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Talk to your GP if you need help breaking the habit for good.