What do having little or no education, high blood pressure, untreated hearing impairment, smoking, obesity, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, low social contact, head injuries, excessive alcohol consumption in midlife, and air pollution exposure in later life have in common?
They’re all risk factors for dementia.
And according to The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care, if they're reduced or eliminated, that could prevent or delay 40% of dementia cases worldwide.
The commission upped their list of risk factors from nine to 12 recently, and they're now sounding a wakeup call.
So listen up. It can help you make sure you and your loved ones do not have to contend with cognitive impairment as you grow older.
They want to call your attention to lifestyle choices that damage cardio-cerebral health, increasing the risk of dementia: high blood pressure, inactivity, smoking, obesity, excess alcohol intake, and air pollution exposure.
Other risks include head injuries, hearing loss, and psychological conditions such as depression. Those can lead to poor lifestyle choices and/or neurological changes.
The good news is that you're never too young to start protecting yourself from dementia. Don't smoke, protect your brain from sports-related injury, exercise regularly, and eat healthy foods.
But you're never too old either. Walk daily and do strength training. Don't smoke, drink very little alcohol, eat a Mediterranean diet, stay in contact with friends and family, volunteer, do/learn new things, meditate, sleep, and laugh.
What are you going to do today to protect your brain?