Minimize risk factors: More and more people with dementia: With the anti-Alzheimer code, you can take preventative action
Alzheimer’s and dementia cannot be cured. But there are risk factors that everyone can reduce themselves. This does not only include a healthy lifestyle. A completely different factor has the greatest influence.
Being dependent on care because the personality dissolves and the rational will and logic fall by the wayside is a nightmare vision for everyone. Dementia diseases like Alzheimer’s are cruel. A study published in the specialist journal shows what increase in numbers can be expected and which factors play the main roles “Lancet” has been published.
According to the forecast, dementia diseases such as Alzheimer’s will increase worldwide from 57 million to more than 150 million by 2050. In Germany, an increase of more than 60 percent can be expected. This dramatic increase is mainly due to the fact that more and more people are getting older. The risk of neurodegenerative diseases of the brain increases with age, it is a disease of old age. This “risk factor” cannot be influenced.
These measures will reduce your risk of dementia
On the other hand, each of us can influence other, equally strong risk factors and thus reduce our personal risk of dementia by up to 40 percent. This is precisely why it is so important to protect yourself with simple preventive measures. Because dementia diseases like Alzheimer’s still cannot be cured. These are the twelve key factors to protect against memory loss:
1. Recognize and compensate for hearing loss
Surprising, but actually logical: hearing loss is the most important risk factor for dementia that can be influenced. Because even slight hearing loss can double the risk of dementia, as already previous studies showed.
If you can no longer hear properly, you often switch off internally in communication because you can no longer follow the conversation properly, especially in a group. And don’t want to annoy you with questions like – what did you just say? As a result, those affected withdraw more and more from their environment. The brain is challenged with fewer and fewer stimuli, and dementia can develop. Tip: To be on the safe side, have a hearing test done and if there is a reduction, compensate for it. With the right hearing aid, the risk of dementia decreases significantly.
2. Pay attention to education – for life
Alzheimer’s and similar diseases primarily affect people with a lower level of education. However, the connection is a bit more complicated: in order to achieve a higher level of education, intelligence is a prerequisite, but also a solid socio-economic background. It is therefore not entirely in one’s own hands to achieve a high level of education, which in turn often allows a properly paid job. The financial status can then influence whether healthy nutrition, but also health care, is more easily accessible, which also includes a certain protection against dementia. About the background.
But the same applies to people with a lower level of education: If you challenge yourself mentally throughout your life, you can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. Because during memory training, new synapses are formed in the brain, which in turn can take over the tasks of dead ones. Learning languages is ideal for this, but also making music, dancing, memo games and of course reading, preferably books, daily newspapers – and don’t skim the pages, but read it to the end and then sum up the most important facts in your head.
What are the causes of dementia and how can you prevent them? Also: self-test, dealing with those affected and legal assistance.
3. Avoid head injuries, i.e. traumatic brain injuries, as much as possible
In fact, even a minor concussion many years later can do that risk of dementia double. The risk increases even more if the head injury is real and/or if unconsciousness has occurred, keyword “boxer’s dementia”.
Because when you hit your head, nerve cells die, and tau proteins can accumulate and connect. This chain reaction often goes on for years and explains why dementia often only becomes apparent after decades.
So protect your head with a helmet for sports such as climbing, but also for everyday cycling. Hobby footballers should consider how important headers really are.
4. Prevent high blood pressure, optimally reduce existing blood pressure
Even blood pressure values of 140/90 mm Hg and even higher can significantly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. Because the high pressure damages the vessels, starting with the smallest ones – as they are also important in the brain. Damaged blood vessels can no longer supply the brain with sufficient blood, the supply stumbles, and cells die.
High blood pressure can be lowered with drugs such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and diuretics. Once the blood pressure has normalized, the risk of dementia also drops to the level of people who do not have hypertension.
It is best not to let it get to the point where blood pressure develops in the first place. In most cases, this can be achieved by abstaining from smoking and alcohol, maintaining a normal weight and ensuring sufficient exercise every day.
Blood pressure medication confusion: At this point, you should swallow the medication
5. Less alcohol is better
No question, the neurotoxin damages the brain. Especially when dementia sets in under the age of 65, there is often an alcohol problem. Depending on the level of alcohol consumption and how long it lasts, it can quadruple the overall risk of dementia! Because alcohol not only damages the nerve cells, but also loosens their connections. The limit from when alcohol damages the brain is about half a liter of beer per day for men, women should not drink more than a quarter of a liter.
However, there is conflicting evidence as to whether abstinence is better than drinking a small amount of alcohol in terms of dementia prevention. What is certain, however, is that living completely alcohol-free can enable the body to at least partially repair alcohol-related brain damage.
6. Obesity – reduce excess weight
Above all, a BMI of 30 and more in middle age is associated with a increased risk of dementia tied together. It increases by more than 30 percent!
Adipose tissue is known to produce inflammatory substances that damage vessels and thus blood circulation. Researchers even see obesity as a single risk factor for dementia, which still comes into play when other negative influences such as high blood pressure are taken into account. Incidentally, the link between obesity and dementia is even closer in women than in men.
Avoiding being overweight or losing weight is therefore a particularly important step in dementia prevention.
7. Quit smoking
Smoking is not only a risk factor for cancer and arteriosclerosis with their consequences, but also for dementia. Anyone who smokes for over 20 years has twice the risk of dementia as non-smokers, huh various studies To take.
The cause is the ingredients in the smoke that promote arteriosclerosis. Clogged, damaged vessels can no longer adequately supply tissue, which results in the breakdown of nerve cells. In addition, smoking seems to have a negative effect on the entire cerebral metabolism. The good news is that quitting smoking significantly reduces the risk to your brain.
8. Treat stress and depression properly
Mental stress could demonstrably damage the brain, the plaques typical of Alzheimer’s seem to occur more frequently. However, the connections still need to be explored further. So it is possible that the symptoms associated with depression – such as sleep disorders – actually promote dementia. Chronic sleep deprivation is known to encourage the accumulation of toxic waste products in the brain, damaging it. Sufficient, deep sleep, on the other hand, supports the brain in its regeneration.
As with hypertension, the same applies here: Depression can be treated with appropriate programs (e.g. relaxation, light exercise) and psychotropic drugs, and the brain can recover.
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9. Company instead of loneliness and isolation
Anyone who has always lived alone or been widowed has an increased risk of developing dementia. Because the brain function is also dependent on social contacts. The daily, new stimuli, the direct conversation, the community are, so to speak, the elixir of life for our brain. However, social contacts are often reduced as the years go by, triggered by illness, death or retirement. Therefore, maintain friendships, look for new contacts, socialize, take part in courses, join a club.
10. Avoid air pollution and particulate matter as much as possible
Nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, especially ultra-fine dust from combustion vehicles, have been shown to damage the brain. There’s a whole one for that now series of studies.
Anyone who lives near a busy street has a significantly increased risk of dementia. There are at least two reasons for this: The particles damage the lungs and thus the entire oxygen supply deteriorates, including in the brain. In addition, the ultrafine dust reaches the brain directly via the nose. Even small amounts of it are enough to reduce cognitive performance.
But how can particulate matter be avoided? That means leaving the car at home as often as possible, using local public transport – and forgoing the New Year’s fireworks because they blow a lot of fine dust into the air. There is more about this from the Federal Environment Agency here. By the way, you can easily find out how good the air is in your region with a UBA app check over.
11. Get active, because resting also rusts your brain
Physical inactivity is directly linked to dementia. In principle, this connection does not have to be proven by studies. Because the opposite, i.e. sporting activity, is known to give the body a lot of oxygen, as well as healthy vessels, organs, a favorable metabolism, normal weight and is also brain training – all protective factors against dementia. Earlier studies have also shown this connection, a recent study sees it a little differently.
Accordingly, physical inactivity can also be a concomitant symptom of dementia. Scientists are therefore calling for long-term studies in order to be able to prove the connection between physical activity and dementia prevention even more precisely.
Recommended book: “Dementia – take care of and care for it calmly” (ad)
The empowering help book for those affected and their families
12. Avoid type 2 diabetes at all costs
People who have type 2 diabetes are particularly at risk of dementia in old age. The higher the blood sugar levels on average, the higher the risk of dementia in old age. Again, this is especially true for women.
The fact that the metabolic disease can also change the glucose metabolism in the brain also plays a role in the connection between diabetes and dementia. This favors amyloid deposits. These protein fragments disrupt communication between the nerve cells, which can gradually die off as a result.
Type 2 diabetes can usually be avoided with a sensible diet and plenty of exercise – and this important risk factor for dementia also disappears. And if you already have diabetes: Check carefully and optimize your blood sugar levels. The better the blood sugar is controlled, the lower the risk of late effects – including dementia.