There are many different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and Lewy body dementia. While some of the risk factors, like age and genetics, are out of your control, others are within your power to alter.
Here are some key steps that the Alzheimer’s Association advises people to take now to lower their chances of developing dementia later in life.
Fight cardiovascular disease.
This includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Up to 80% of Alzheimer’s patients have cardiovascular disease, which can lead
to vascular dementia (one of the main types of dementia).
Get regular exercise.
Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which may help your brain cells. Plus, exercise helps reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease — and helps you manage it if you already have it. Find one or more forms of exercise you enjoy so that you can stick with it.
Eat a heart-healthy diet.
Current research suggests that a heart-healthy diet may protect the brain. Plus, it helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, including diabetes. A heart-healthy diet includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats — and limited saturated fats and sugar.
Stay socially connected.
While researchers aren’t sure, they do know that strong social ties help lower the risk of dementia. Foster relationships with friends and family. And if you’re no longer working, seek out volunteer opportunities and hobbies that will get you
out of the house, stimulate your mind, and help you meet new people.