Prevention of dementia: causes and risk factors | – Guide

Status: 02/05/2022 11:45 a.m.

Dementia is the progressive loss of mental abilities. There are many forms of dementia – Alzheimer’s is the best known form. Dementia can be prevented or at least delayed for years.

In order to prevent dementia, it is important to start early to keep the brain fit. The brain is very sensitive. If harmful processes begin, such as Alzheimer’s deposits, nerve cells die. The brain then no longer functions normally and dementia occurs: memory, orientation and daily living abilities suffer. There are genetic risks – but lifestyle also plays a role. Good mental fitness also significantly reduces the individual risk of dementia. A new blood test today also promises early diagnosis of the disease.

Obesity, lack of exercise and hypertension increase the risk

What is harmful to the body is also harmful to the brain: factors such as obesity, lack of exercise and high blood pressure increase the risk of developing dementia. Thinking about your brain early in life is important because brain health is decided in middle age. The changes in the brain take place 20 years before the onset of dementia.

researchers have 20 identified factors that can be effective in preventing forgetfulness. The results were calculated from global data. Since the living conditions, i.e. the starting position, differ from region to region, not all factors have the same importance in all countries. For people in Germany, in particular, tablets for high blood pressure and Hearing aids have surprisingly positive effects.

Plus, it’s worth protecting your head from bumps and drops for the rest of your life. Even minor damage that goes unnoticed can basically avoid head balls and wear a bicycle helmet to protect the sensitive brain. It’s always about putting as little strain on the brain as possible and actively building up a mental reserve. Memory training, stress management, and getting enough sleep also have protective effects. All of this can help ensure that deposits resulting from Alzheimer’s disease, for example, cause fewer memory problems. According to current knowledge, the formation of deposits cannot be prevented by a healthy lifestyle, but their effects can be reduced and delayed.

Movement maintains the heart-brain axis

The heart has a key function for the brain. It pumps blood to fuel the brain because it uses 20% of our energy. If the supply to the brain is limited due to heart failure, changes in the genetic pattern of nerve cells may occur and performance decreases (Study).

Healthy blood vessels and healthy blood pressure are important for the heart and brain. In many dementia diseases, arterial hypertension is a decisive cause, doctors even speak of vascular dementia. Exercise lowers high blood pressure and helps send fresh blood to the brain. Exercise also strengthens the muscles that produce hormones. Animal experiments have shown that these so-called myokines migrate to the brain. There they ensure, for example, that certain growth factors are increasingly released. These, in turn, help nerve cells connect and communicate better with each other – so movement improves learning.

Coordination exercises reduce the risk of dementia

Researchers are convinced that the brain can be made resistant to dementia – by strengthening mental and cognitive reserve. In this way, the deterioration of mental functions can be avoided. It’s never too late for that, because the human brain has the ability to transform until old age.

A well-connected brain can even compensate for nerve damage. Researchers in Dresden are currently developing an exercise program that should also help against the risks of dementia associated with depression, constant stress and loneliness: coordination exercises, such as a combination of balance and dance, stimulate the brain.

The research team is developing something that does not yet exist in this form in the prevention of dementia: the mixed program aims to promote the body, mind and soul at the same time and thus reduce physical risks, mental and intellectual dementia. The program called “Remind” will soon be available online, so it should be in every living room as a means of preventing dementia.

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Further information

Senior woman plays chess with her granddaughter.  © picture alliance / photo library |  Thomas Imo/photo library

Anyone who learns languages, maintains social contacts and keeps moving can stay mentally fit into old age and prevent dementia. After

An old woman supports her head with her hand.  © photo alliance Photo: Patrick Pleul

Dementia is usually recognized very late. A new blood test now promises early diagnosis of the disease. After

A woman measures blood pressure on a patient's arm.  © COLORBOX Photo: Poprotskiy Alexey

Studies indicate that even slightly elevated blood pressure values ​​can increase the risk of dementia. After

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Visit | 05/03/2022 | 8:15 p.m.

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