Reducing the risk of Dementia this World Alzheimer’s Month

The World Alzheimer’s Month campaign runs annually every September and is a time to raise awareness about the condition as well as other types of dementia. The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘never too early, never too late’, reminding the public that there is never a wrong time to work towards delaying or preventing the onset of these diseases.

 

According to the not-for-profit organisation Alzheimer’s Disease International, it’s thought that 40% of dementia cases could be delayed or reduced and that 75% of people living with a form of dementia are doing so without a diagnosis* (and so without any support). This emphasises just how important it is to be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of these conditions and to know how we can look after ourselves to help prevent early onset of dementia.

 

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a build-up of proteins in the brain. These proteins affect how the brain cells transmit information; it’s currently the most common form of dementia.

 

There are a number of risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s and other dementias. While we can’t control some of them (women are more likely to develop the disease and some people’s genetics sadly just make them more at risk), there are some things that we can change to improve our brain health.

 

 Reducing the risks

 

  • Depression – there is a link between dementia and depression, although it isn’t completely clear if dementia causes depression or vice versa. Whichever occurs first, it’s good practice to try and manage mental health symptoms before they impact other areas of life.

 

  • Diabetes – type 2 diabetes has been identified as a clear risk factor so focusing on a healthy diet and active lifestyle can help reduce this risk.

 

  • Hypertension – otherwise known as high blood pressure, hypertension in middle age can increase dementia risk. Hypertension medication is currently the only known effective preventative medication for dementia risk.

 

  • Infrequent social contact – it’s been proven that social interactions can reduce the risk of dementia by ‘working out’ certain areas of the brain.

 

  • Head injuries – frequent or serious head injuries are known to increase the risk of dementia.

 

  • Smoking – quitting smoking, no matter what stage of life one is at, can help to reduce the risk of dementia diseases as well as many other health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cancers.

 

  • Physical inactivity – regular physical activity is a great way to reduce risks and is also proven to improve the cardiovascular system as well as your mental wellbeing.

 

  • Excessive alcohol consumption – excessive use of alcohol can be a contributing factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions, including dementia.

 

Here at Churchfields, we encourage our residents to live active and balanced lifestyles while taking into account their own needs and preferences. Our staff are well experienced in nursing and dementia care, including risk reduction and have a close working relationship with local medical teams. We’ve also been commended on our commitment to ensuring residents and their families feel included in the development of their homes and care. We strive to make sure all of our residents feel valued as individuals.

 

For further information on risk factors, and practical tips on reducing the risk of dementia, the Alzheimer’s Society has a great guide here.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about our care home and how we support those with dementia or how we help to reduce the risk factors in our other residents, feel free to contact us on 01865 881440.

 

Notes

* https://www.alzint.org/resource/dementia-fact-sheet/

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