In today’s world, Dementia is a serious condition that affects cognitive function, memory, and behavior. It’s a progressive disease that can cause a significant decline in an individual’s quality of life. There are various risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing dementia.
According to a recent survey conducted by World Health Organisation, which witnessed that more than 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia, and this number is projected to triple in the next 30 years.
Some of the Dementia factors can be controlled, while others cannot. In this article, we’ll discuss dementia, its types, risk factors for developing dementia, and how to measure steps you can take to reduce your risk.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a progressive neurological disorder that affects cognition and behavior. It is caused by changes in the structure and functioning of the brain, leading to memory loss, difficulty with communication, impaired judgment, and other difficulties with day-to-day activities.
Memory loss is a specific symptom of dementia, but it can be caused by various factors. Memory loss alone does not indicate dementia, though it is frequently one of the first symptoms of the condition.
Although it’s a progressive disease that worsens over time and can significantly decline an individual’s quality of life, dementia can affect various parts of the brain, and symptoms can vary depending on the type of dementia. Some dementia symptoms may be reversible depending on the cause.
Types of Dementia
There are several types of dementia, each with unique characteristics and symptoms.
- The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for 60-80% of cases. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the buildup of amyloid protein in the brain, leading to brain cell death and cognitive function deterioration.
- Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia and is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain. It can result from a stroke or a series of mini-strokes that damage the brain’s blood vessels.
- Lewy body dementia is characterized by the presence of abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies in the brain. It can cause a range of symptoms, including hallucinations, changes in alertness, and movement problems.
- Frontotemporal dementia affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain and can cause changes in behavior, personality, and language skills. It is less common than Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, accounting for around 5% of dementia cases.
Other less common types of dementia include mixed dementia, which is a combination of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare and fatal brain disorder.
Risk Factors for Developing Dementia
- Age: Age is the most significant risk factor for developing dementia. The risk of developing dementia doubles every five years after age 65.
- Family History: Having a family history of dementia can increase your risk of developing the condition.
- Lifestyle Factors: Lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of physical exercise and poor diet can increase the risk of developing dementia.
- Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, can increase the risk of developing dementia.
- Head Injuries: Sustaining a severe head injury can increase the risk of developing dementia later in life.
Medications that can affect memory: Some medications such as anticholinergics can increase the risk of developing dementia.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Dementia
While some risk factors for developing dementia cannot be controlled, you can take steps to reduce your risk. Here are some tips to help reduce your risk of developing dementia:
- Exercise regularly: Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of developing dementia by up to 30%. Exercise can also improve cardiovascular health, which is linked to a lower risk of developing dementia.
- Eat a healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help reduce the risk of developing dementia. Avoiding excessive amounts of saturated and trans fats, sugar, and salt is also recommended.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking can increase the risk of developing dementia, so it’s essential to quit smoking if you’re a smoker.
- Drink alcohol in moderation: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing dementia, so drinking in moderation is essential. The recommended limit is one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
- Manage medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, can increase the risk of developing dementia. Managing these conditions through lifestyle changes, medication, and regular check-ups can help reduce the risk.
- Stay mentally active: Engaging in mentally stimulating activities, such as reading, playing games, or learning a new skill, can help keep the brain active and reduce the risk of developing dementia.
While some risk factors for developing dementia cannot be controlled, you can take steps to reduce your risk. By making healthy lifestyle choices, you can help protect your brain health and reduce your risk of developing this debilitating condition. With Pillup’s presorted medicines, you can get timely medication reminders and stay on top of your health. Our team of pharmacists is here to answer any questions you may have about medications for dementia.