Doing Life Together

women-2300105_1920If you knew there were lifestyle changes you could make to prevent dementia, would you make those changes?

Most of us would want to know what those lifestyle factors are. After all, dementia is not a given when it comes to aging. Yet, we see more and more people suffering from this neurocognitive disorder.

All of us probably know someone who has dementia because 47 million people are living around the globe with it. And the numbers are expected to triple in the future.

So researchers decided to take a look at a number of studies and see if there were lifestyle factors that might be associated with developing dementia. Here is what they found through a meta-analysis. The review was conducted by a group of international experts in the field of dementia and was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) this past July. This analysis was one of the most comprehensive looks at prevention, intervention and care.

Nine lifestyle risk factors were found to be responsible for about 35% of all dementia cases. The authors did note that the percentage of contribution of lifestyle factors could be even higher since they didn’t include dietary factors, alcohol use, visual impairment, air pollution, or sleep.

Interestingly, the analysis also found that being bilingual was not a protective factor against risk like so many people think. Perhaps it is the education that comes with being bilingual that is a more important factor.

Here are the nine factors. Most of them are things you can change or prevent:

  1. Not completing secondary education in early life
  2. Hypertension
  3. Obesity
  4. Hearing loss in midlife
  5. Smoking
  6. Depression,
  7. Physical inactivity,
  8. Social isolation
  9. Diabetes in later life

The encouraging news of this report is that this list is made up of things that can be changed. We can treat depression, stop smoking or never start, become more active, develop community, etc. So take a look at this list and consider whether or not you could begin to make a few changes in your life and possible prevent dementia later in life.

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