5 Ways to Help Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
Dementia is the name for a range of conditions that cause damage to the brain. This can affect memory, thinking, language and the ability to carry out everyday tasks. Alzheimer’s is the most common type, but there’s also Vascular dementia, Lewy bodies dementia and Frontotemporal dementia.
Dementia cannot yet be prevented or cured. But evidence* suggests that by making small changes to the way we live, we can reduce our chances of developing dementia, or, at the very least, improve our health and wellbeing.
Here are some tips you can take to help reduce your risk of dementia:
1. Be physically active
Try to do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity 3- 5 days a week. This could be walking, running, cycling, swimming or gardening. Take the stairs instead of the lift, or go for a walk at lunch. Build it up over time, and if you have any doubts, talk to your doctor.
2. Take care of your heart
What’s good for your heart is good for your brain. Protect yourself from things that could damage these organs, like having regular health checks with your doctor to ensure your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels are at a healthy range.
3. Eat a healthy diet
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, aiming for five servings a day. Also include fish in your diet, particularly oily fish like salmon, mackerel or sardines.
4. Take part in social activities
Engaging in social activities helps to build strong connections in the brain. Phone or meet family and friends regularly, share news and keep in touch.
5. Challenge your brain
Train your brain with new activities to help build new cells and strengthen connections between them. You could take up a new hobby like painting, woodwork, music, crosswords or craft work.
The Alzheimer Society of Ireland provides care and support every year to those living with dementia, and their families. By introducing these 5 steps into your life now, it may help to reduce your risk later.
Take part this September 18th
in our Alzheimer’s Memory Walk, and do something great for your health while supporting people living with dementia across Ireland. To take part:
Find Out More About Brain Health
To find out more about brain health and reducing your risk of developing dementia, you can speak with your doctor, visit www.alzheimer.ie, call the Alzheimer National Helpline on 1800 341 341. The Helpline is open Monday to Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am to 4pm.
*WHO Guidelines on risk reduction of cognitive decline and dementia, May 2019 @ www.who.int