What are the early dementia risk factors and best strategies to lower dementia risks?

July 4, 2024 - Reading time: 7 minutes

Dementia is a progressive condition that affects memory, thinking, and behaviour. While it is often associated with ageing, early-onset dementia can also occur in individuals under the age of 65. Understanding the risk factors associated with early dementia is crucial for early detection and intervention. In this blog post, we will delve into the silent threat of early dementia and explore the key risk factors that can help identify individuals at risk.

What is Early Dementia?

Dementia is a broad term used to describe a decline in cognitive function severe enough to interfere with daily life. Early-onset dementia refers to the condition when symptoms begin before the age of 65. While Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia in older adults, early-onset dementia can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and medical conditions.

Risk Factors for Early Dementia

Genetics

One of the primary risk factors for early dementia is a family history of the condition. Individuals with a parent or sibling who has been diagnosed with dementia may have an increased risk of developing the condition themselves. Genetic mutations, such as those associated with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, can also play a significant role in the development of early dementia.

Lifestyle Factors

Several lifestyle factors have been linked to an increased risk of early dementia. These include:

Smoking: Smoking has been shown to increase the risk of dementia due to its detrimental effects on the brain.

Poor Diet: A diet high in saturated fats and processed foods has been associated with cognitive decline and an increased risk of dementia.

Lack of Exercise: Physical inactivity can contribute to the development of dementia by reducing blood flow to the brain and promoting the accumulation of harmful proteins.

Lower the risks of dementia

When lowering the risk of dementia, focusing on a healthy lifestyle is the key. It's important to make staying active, both mentally and physically, a top priority. Taking positive steps towards maintaining your health and keeping your mind sharp can go a long way. 

You can engage in activities that challenge your brain, stay social by connecting with friends and family regularly, eat a balanced diet, manage stress, and get quality sleep. All of these actions can help boost your overall health and well-being, leading to a brighter future. Additionally, incorporating regular exercise and a heart-healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can work wonders. 

Always be sure to seek advice from healthcare professionals for personalised guidance. Remember, taking the right steps towards a healthy lifestyle is a journey, not a destination. Keep going, you've got this!

For individuals over 50, there are several steps you can take to help reduce the risk of dementia:

Stay physically active:

Regular physical exercise enhances cognitive performance (connecting brain cells) by increasing blood circulation to the brain. It is imperative to uphold your commitment to your training routine to not only enhance physical strength but also to attain heightened mental acuity and concentration. Perseverance will yield favourable outcomes in terms of overall health and well-being, thus it is crucial to persist in your efforts.

What does high cognitive performance mean?


Maintain a healthy diet:

It would help to prioritise eating a well-balanced diet to ensure you put quality fuel into your body. Nutrient-dense foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats are essential for optimal brain function and overall well-being. Let's commit to treating our bodies with respect by consuming these foods.

Stay mentally active:

Let's aim to keep our minds thriving and dynamic! By seizing opportunities to learn and explore new things, such as reading, puzzles, games, and hobbies, we can unlock a world of mental health and cognitive benefits. Dedicate some time to the joy of cracking challenging puzzles or picking up a new skill today. By pursuing these activities consistently, we'll stride towards brighter, stronger minds.

Manage chronic conditions:

Prioritising the management of chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol levels reduces cognitive decline. Small actions taken today can make a big difference in your future health. It's never too late to start taking care of ourselves. Commit to managing chronic conditions and maintaining brain health for a fulfilling life filled with joy and vitality.

Get quality sleep:

Giving priority to obtaining consistent and restful sleep enhances energy levels and prepares an individual for the day ahead. To achieve this, it is recommended to establish a sanctuary by minimizing distractions and setting a comfortable temperature. By prioritizing quality sleep, one can promote a well-rested brain and potentially reduce the risk of developing dementia. 

Manage stress:

It is widely acknowledged that implementing stress-reduction techniques into your daily routine is a beneficial way to promote optimal brain health. Consider integrating mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing exercises to help shield against stressful situations. Emphasising the importance of mental health and wellness can significantly boost overall well-being and aid in reducing the risk of dementia. Making a conscious effort to implement these positive actions can lead to long-term health benefits and increased happiness. We encourage you to try these effective techniques today to positively impact your overall well-being.

Stay socially engaged:

Creating strong connections and participating in fulfilling activities can greatly enhance our overall well-being. Interacting with others through hobbies, volunteering, and other positive support systems is important. This can improve our health and happiness, leading to a more fulfilling life. Starting to build a social circle can be a helpful step in this direction. It’s worth exploring what’s available in your neighbourhood, such as dementia cafes, golf days, bowling days, and supermarket days that are designed with dementia patients in mind. These opportunities can not only provide enjoyable experiences but also offer valuable support and community.

Limit alcohol intake:

Make positive choices for your well-being. A moderate alcohol intake can reduce the risk of dementia. Let's be mindful of our drinking habits and enjoy drinks in moderation for a healthy life. Remember, small changes make a big difference in our health. Cheers to a vibrant life!

Quit smoke:

Quit smoking for better health! It reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. Your lung function will improve and your energy levels will increase, leading to a better quality of life. It's never too late to quit and experience these benefits. Though challenging, quitting is rewarding. Take the first step towards cessation for a healthier life.

Stay mentally and emotionally healthy:

Seeking professional support for mental health concerns can greatly improve well-being. Resources are available to explore treatment options and coping strategies. Prioritising self-care and seeking help when needed is important, as it can improve quality of life.

Dementia is a growing concern as we age. Although there is no proven method to prevent it, we can reduce the risk by doing brain-stimulating exercises, making healthy choices, and seeking medical advice. By combining these strategies, we can maximise our protection against cognitive decline. It's important to consult with experienced healthcare professionals for personalised guidance. By following these steps, we give ourselves the best possible chance of ageing happily and healthily.

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