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Image: 5 Ways to reduce your risk of dementia

(Natural News) Dementia is a collective term for diseases like Alzheimer’s that affect a person’s brain and his ability to think and remember. With over 50 million people having dementia worldwide and 10 million new cases being diagnosed annually, it is one of the fastest growing health conditions globally.

Common signs of early-stage dementia are impaired cognitive functioning, agitation, anxiety, depression, and speech problems. While there is no cure for dementia, there are many ways to reduce the risk of developing it. Here are 5 of them. (Related: Dementia is easily predicted by fundamental health statistics in middle age.)

Stop smoking

Research is clear about the harmful effects of smoking on the heart, lungs, and brain. Smoking increases a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia. Meanwhile, quitting smoking can help a person stay healthy.

Limit your alcohol consumption

There are dangers linked to drinking too much. Excessive alcohol consumption not only harms the liver and other organs, it also puts you at greater risk of developing early-onset dementia.

The amount of alcohol you consume per week should be limited to no more than 14 units. Try and spread these out over the week and replace those hard drinks with low-alcohol or alcohol-free beverages. Limiting your drinking to social occasions such as birthdays and holidays can also be very helpful.

Eat a balanced diet

Eating healthy is crucial for maintaining good health and preventing diseases like diabetes and heart disease. It also has a positive effect on cognitive function and reduces the risk of dementia.

Meals that include mostly fruits, vegetables, fish, and beans — such as those eaten by people on the Mediterranean diet — are said to improve cognitive performance. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, people also need to drink six to eight glasses of water every day and reduce their salt and sugar intake to stay healthy.

Exercise regularly

Studies have linked regular physical activity to a lowered risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Living an active lifestyle that includes either 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity weekly is key to keeping your brain and heart healthy.

Doing simple things like mowing the lawn, cycling to work, or taking a short walk can be considered moderate physical activity. Meanwhile, cardio exercises like jogging or swimming are considered vigorous physical activity. The purpose of these physical activities is to get your heart pumping and improve your blood circulation.

Maintain an active social life

Social isolation is a major cause of mood disorders, especially in older adults. According to studies, depression and anxiety can hasten cognitive impairment in the elderly.

To avoid social isolation, make an effort to keep in touch with your family and friends, and form bonds with your neighbors and other people in your community. Having a dog, cat, or even a fish as pet can also help reduce the effects of dementia.

With cases of dementia expected to triple in the next 30 years, following certain steps to reduce your risk is essential. Going out for a walk after dinner and building a good relationship with your neighbors can do wonders for your brain. These simple things can help ensure that your mind continues to stay strong even in your golden years.

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