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Help Yourself By Knowing Dementia Risk Factors


Posted on October 22, 2009 by DementiaGuide

Help Yourself By Knowing Dementia Risk Factors

Everyone is potentially at risk for dementia - onset can occur at virtually any age, and in people with any genetic background. Nonetheless, there are certain dementia risk factors that are important to keep your eye on, some of which you can control, and others you cannot.

Risk Factors in Your Control

Hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and atherosclerosis all put you at risk for dementia. They can all potentially lead to conditions that cause some form of dementia dementia, and are generally unhealthy. Many of these can be controlled by losing weight, changing your diet, and increasing your level of physical activity.

Other dementia risk factors within your control include smoking and heavy alcohol use. These are unlike the diseases and medical conditions listed above, in that they are activities and addictions that can be brought under control with some effort. Smoking and alcohol abuse can also put you at risk for other illnesses such as heart disease, liver failure, and lung cancer.

Many of these risk factors develop from an unhealthy lifestyle that begins at a young age. In light of this, it is important to start lowering your risk for dementia today. Whether you're 8 or 80, keeping your mind and body healthy will reduce your risk for dementia and help you live life to the fullest.

Risk Factors Not in Your Control

Unfortunately, not all dementia risk factors are in your control. The list of uncontrollable variables includes a family history of dementia, stroke, Down syndrome, and/or mild cognitive impairment, as well as aging. Gender can also be a factor as males are more susceptible to vascular dementia than females.

While many hereditary risk factors are unavoidable, genetics are not the deciding factor when it comes to developing dementia. In fact, you may be able to avoid diseases and conditions to which you are genetically disposed by living well.

Activities to Help Lower Your Risk

There are many low-impact activities you can participate in to decrease your risk of dementia. These include gardening, walking, aerobic exercise, eating healthily, reading, playing chess, and any other activity that involves your mind. Most of these should not be especially surprising. What's more, in addition to keeping you healthy and helping to decrease your risk for dementia, performing these activities has the added benefit of decreasing boredom and adding spice to life.

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