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5 Ways to Stop Dementia, According to Experts

What to know about dementia and five ways to help reduce your risk.

Over 55 million people live with dementia worldwide–a condition that affects memory and cognitive function outside the normal expectations of aging, according to the World Health Organization. Dementia is more common with people over 65, however younger people in their 30s, 50s and 50s can have the syndrome as well. There's currently no cure for the brain disorder and certain factors like age and genetics can't be avoided, but there's lifestyle choices people can make that do help reduce the risk and Eat This, Not That Health talked with experts who explained what healthy habits lessen the chance of getting dementia. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


What Causes Dementia?


Cole Smith, the corporate director of Dementia care at Brightview Senior Living says," Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells, and different types of dementia and memory loss disorders are associated with different types of brain cell damage in particular regions of the brain. This damage intervenes with brain cell communication, and when brain cells cannot communicate normally, behavior, thinking and feelings are impacted. While we can't prevent dementia, we can greatly reduce our risk of developing dementia."


Who is at Risk for Dementia

older man with dementia talking to doctor
Shutterstock / Robert Kneschke

Shannyn McCauley, a former dementia nurse and Certified Health Coach with Empower Coaching says, "There are a number of risk factors for dementia. Lifestyle is a major one. A lack of exercise, poor diet, and smoking can all contribute to the development of dementia." 

Smith adds, "Risk factors for dementia include age and genetics – both of which are not something a person can control. What is important for those who are at risk, and for those wanting to keep their brain healthy and stimulated, is preventative care."


What Should People Know About Dementia?

happy senior couple bike riding

McCauley shares, "People should know that their lifestyle makes a huge impact on their health. Developing a healthier lifestyle can help prevent dementia, as well as a number of other diseases." 


How Does Dementia Affect Overall Health and Quality of Life?

Pensioner reading message on mobile phone

McCauley states, "Dementia negatively affects a person's quality of life. It can start out with minor irritations, such as forgetting where you parked or losing your car keys, but it will eventually graduate into bigger concerns. Those with dementia become a risk to themselves and others as the disease progresses. They may leave a gas stove on after cooking dinner, thinking they already turned it off. They could get back into their car after grocery shopping and forget where they live or what side of the road to drive on. As a person with dementia declines, they will need constant care, as they may forget to eat or use the bathroom."


Social Engagement

Family talking over dinner.

Smith explains, "Connections with others build connections in the brain. Regular socialization provides opportunities to converse, debate, learn, laugh and destress. Purposeful, feel-good engagement is also a powerful tonic. For example, one of the strongest therapies for the brain is volunteering."


Mental Fitness


According to Smith, "Mental exercise is imperative for brain health, as it increases brain cell growth and connections between cells. Challenging and rewarding activities such as art projects, continued education – learning a new language or skill – and chess are all strong examples of mental exercise."



Senior man standing in an indoor swimming pool.

Smith says, "Scientific literature states that what is good for your heart is also good for your brain. Exercise increases blood flow and oxygenation, which carries fuel to the brain to improve mood, mental sharpness and sleep quality, as well as help us lose weight and manage chronic health conditions like hypertension."

The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions recommends, "Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. Each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity, according to the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans."



mixed leafy greens

Cole reveals, "Fresh, nutrient-rich diets containing antioxidants, spices, leafy greens, omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains and lean proteins provide excellent fuel for the brain. Three diets proven to boost brain health are the Mediterranean, DASH and MIND."


Medical Health


Smith reminds us, "Without proper management, conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol significantly decrease cognitive function and directly impact brain health. By staying on track with prescribed medications for these chronic health conditions and adhering to medical recommendations can provide a greater quality of life and increased brain health." 

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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