By Dr. Santosh Bangar, Psychiatry
Contrary to popular belief, dementia is a syndrome rather than a specific disease. It is characterized by a progressive decline in short term memory as well as other cognitive skills. Alzheimer’s disease is responsible for about 60 to 80% of dementia cases. Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia in which dementia occurs after a stroke. However, both these and other types of dementia can easily be prevented. Here are some tips to prevent dementia…
1. Diet: A low-fat high-fiber diet has been proven to reduce your risk of developing dementia. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are some of the foods which reduce your risk of suffering from dementia. Also, reduce your intake of salt and saturated fats as these tend to make you more susceptible to dementia. Such a diet also reduces the risk of high BP (hypertension) and diabetes, which in turn are risk factors for the development of dementia.
2. Weight: Being overweight or obese makes you more likely to get dementia. Therefore, you must control your weight so that you can prevent dementia.
3. Exercise: Exercises increase the efficiency of the heart and cardiovascular system. This controls your blood pressure and lowers cholesterol both of which reduce your risk of dementia. What is good for your heart is good for the brain.
4. Alcohol and Smoking: Drinking increases your blood pressure and cholesterol both of which increase your risk of dementia. Smoking has just as many negative effects which cause dementia as alcohol. However, smoking causes your arteries to narrow. This increases blood pressure. The increase in blood pressure increases your risk of dementia. Thus, quitting both alcohol and smoking is crucial to prevent dementia.
5. Good night Sleep - Getting good quality night sleep of 6-8 hours is essential for normal brain function. Recent research shows the association of some sleep disorders and increased risk of dementia.