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Lifestyle

Alzheimer's Awareness

Reducing the Risk of Dementia

While dementia is a devastating disease, there are reasons for hope. For one, cognitive decline isn’t inevitable. And there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing dementia, prevent the disease, and even reverse its progression.

First, some basics on dementia:

You don’t have to have dementia with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a specific disease, while dementia is the manifestation of an underlying condition. Alzheimer’s is just one of many conditions that can cause dementia, including Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body disease, and more.

In dementia, the decline in memory, orientation to time and place, judgment, language, and motor and spatial skills are so severe that the person’s day-to-day life is impacted.

Cognitive decline, however, is not a normal part of aging

While our odds of suffering Alzheimer’s or other dementia do increase with age, these diseases are by no means inevitable. Genetics, of course, play a role, but there are changes we can make to mitigate those cases of dementia brought on or exacerbated by lifestyle choices.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as four in 10 dementia cases could be prevented or delayed by reducing or better managing factors like:

• Smoking
• Excessive alcohol use
• Atherosclerosis, or the buildup of plaque in the inner linings of your arteries
• High cholesterol, particularly high levels of LDL cholesterol
• Diabetes
• High blood pressure

Mental health can also play a key role. According to the CDC, social isolation is associated with a 50% increased risk for dementia.

What should you do to reduce your risk of dementia?

• Quit smoking, and limit yourself to one to two alcoholic beverages per day.
• Stay physically active, to reduce your chance of obesity and high blood pressure.
• Maintain social connections.
• Treat sleep disorders, and consider solutions like a CPAP.
• Don’t overlook the connection between hearing/vision loss and dementia; get regular vision checks, and use a hearing aid, if necessary.

All that said, and despite years of Alzheimer’s research, roughly six in 10 cases of dementia may still occur. So, what can you do? Be sure you, your family, and your finances are prepared for potentially life-changing health issues like dementia, cancer, disability, and more.

Now is a great time to start. Let’s review your situation together.

Source: Cognitive Vitality; Alzheimer Society of Canada

Pub10262 2023-158532 Exp. 7/25 *pre-approved content*

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