While there isn’t a cure yet for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, dementia rates have fallen drastically over the past two decades.1
More than 5,000 participants in the famous intergenerational Framingham Heart Study have been monitored for dementia since 1975. Since that time, rates among this group have fallen an average 20 percent every decade since monitoring began.2
Researchers point to changes in lifestyle as a contributing factor to the decline. In fact, they found that people at risk for dementia can delay — and even prevent — the disorder by keeping their heart and mind healthy, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.3
Here are some ways in which you can help slow down the progression of dementia:
- A strong heart also means a healthy mind. Those who focused on weight loss, exercise and a diet rich in fruit, veggies and lean protein reduced their chances of heart disease and dementia.4
- Cut back on your vices. Stop smoking, avoid second-hand smoke and limit your alcohol intake to reduce your risk of heart disease and, as a result, dementia.5
- Keep your mind going. If you stay mentally engaged, as well as socially active, you can build your brain muscles to help your memory.6
- Interestingly enough, researchers discovered that those who pursued a higher education can also protect against dementia.7
- Take steps to avoid injuries that could lead to head trauma. Use a helmet when participating in activities; wear a seat belt when in a car and make sure your house is “fall-proof.”8
Researchers acknowledge that there’s still much to learn about dementia. But healthy lifestyle choices can play an important role in reducing dementia rates.
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