Most people experience occasional memory loss with age. This is usually harmless unless it worsens and affects their daily activities. When that happens, it could be the early stages of dementia.
Dementia is a group of disorders that affect cognitive abilities. It causes memory problems, affects problem-solving, and can even lead to behavioral problems.
While most forms of dementia are incurable, and their damage irreversible, you can make some lifestyle choices to lower your risk of getting dementia.
Types of dementia
Some forms of dementia are progressive and may worsen. But treatment from Dr. Luay Shayya can help slow them. There are four types of progressive dementia:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Frontotemporal disorders
- Vascular dementia
- Lewy body dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type, accounting for 60-80% of all dementia cases.
Other conditions linked to dementia
Some health disorders and conditions can cause dementia-like symptoms. These include:
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Huntington’s disease
- Anoxia (low oxygen levels)
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease risk factors (high cholesterol, blood pressure)
Certain conditions, like high blood pressure, can make vascular dementia worse, so it’s increasingly important to manage your overall health.
Dementia can be tough to prevent because of all the causes and underlying conditions. Having a family history of dementia can heighten your risk. It’s important to tell Dr. Shayya if one of your relatives has dementia, so he can recommend steps to help lower your risk.
Lifestyle choices, like alcohol consumption, can impact the development of dementia. A recent study found that patients who have a higher genetic risk for dementia can lower their risk if they:
- Keep alcohol consumption in moderation (less than two drinks per day)
- Avoid smoking
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise often (150 minutes of moderate activity per week)
A healthy lifestyle may also prevent dementia for patients who aren’t predisposed.
Heart health and dementia
Heart disease is often linked to Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, and atherosclerosis is the leading cause of heart disease. It’s also closely related to vascular dementia.
Vascular dementia develops when plaque builds up in your arteries and obstructs blood flow, which can damage the blood vessels that deliver blood to your brain. Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels can ward off your chances of developing atherosclerosis and vascular dementia after that.
How exercise and mind stimulation lessen dementia
Physical exercise can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 50%. Regular exercise maintains blood oxygen levels and helps blood flow to your brain. It also enables your brain to maintain old connections and develop new ones.
Stimulating your mind keeps you alert and can lessen dementia symptoms. Activities like reading, taking on a new hobby, and solving puzzles are great ways to stay mentally sharp.
Dr. Shayya performs a variety of tests to evaluate your cognitive function. Once he finds out the severity of your dementia, he devises a plan to reduce your symptoms and slow their progression.
If you notice a decline in your mental abilities, call Neurology Consultants of Arizona or schedule an appointment online.