How can I avoid getting dementia?

Did you know?  Almost half of 2,000 people surveyed by the BBC’s ‘Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’ program were keen to know ‘How can I avoid dementia?’ (49 per cent according to a ComRes poll conducted online April 22-23, 2015). 

To look at the issue, Michael Mosley, Television Journalist and Presenter of the program, visited the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia (EPAD) Conference in Edinburgh. He spoke with Professor Craig Ritchie to discover what we can do to reduce our risk of dementia .

His advice on reducing your chances of getting dementia are featured below, with thanks to the BBC’s ‘Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’ program.

Diabetes

There is a link between Type 2 Diabetes and dementia –  having untreated diabetes increases your risk of dementia three-fold. If you already have diabetes, make sure it is carefully managed and this will lessen the likelihood of cognitive decline.

“The elevated levels of insulin that one gets in Type 2 Diabetes may have a direct biological effect on disease processes in the brain. We know, for instance, that high levels of insulin in the brain are broken down by an enzyme called insulin degrading enzyme. That enzyme breaks down amyloid in the plaque (structures in the brain that cause dementia). So, you could argue that having high levels of insulin in the brain distracts the plaque busting enzyme towards getting rid of the insulin as opposed to managing the plaque.”

Exercise

In midlife, moderate exercise and a regular cardiovascular workout have been shown to have a potentially significant impact on reducing your risk of getting dementia. Smoking is a big risk factor for dementia too.

Diet

The evidence is fairly limited, but a Mediterranean diet is likely to be the best for your brain – it’s rich in fibre, fish (with their omega 3 oils) and possibly with the odd cup of coffee and glass of red wine.

Depression

Depression is actually a high risk factor for dementia, so if you suffer from it, then the advice is to get it treated.

Take up a new hobby

What you need is to take up new, brain-stimulating hobbies as you become older. And if you can combine those with a social aspect, such as joining a club, then that’s even better (this is why hearing loss can be a risk factor for dementia – it can be socially isolating, so if you can, use a hearing aid!)

When should we make these changes?

According to Professor Ritchie, we should begin to consider the period of our 40’s to our 50’s as a good place to start making changes.

Whatever age you are, all of these could have the potential to help safeguard your brain as well as boosting your overall health and well-being.

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About Oxley Home Care

Oxley Home Care offers tailored, early intervention and health and lifestyle coaching to people with dementia. Each person assisted is treated as an individual with their own history, memories and likes/dislikes taken into consideration, with services offered from early onset dementia through to palliative dementia care.

Oxley Home Care’s support services for people with dementia and their carers include:

  • Personal care, showering, dressing, grooming, dental hygiene and denture care
  • Activities to assist and minimise behaviours
  • Preparing and serving of meals
  • Daily living support, including domestic assistance
  • Transport to social events
  • Shopping and errands
  • Companionship and leisure activities

In addition, Oxley Home Care’s respite support allows carers to rest and re-energise with peace of mind, on a regular basis.

To find out more about getting the right support and care for a family member with dementia, contact Oxley Home Care on 1300 993 591.

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