The #1 cause of dementia, according to science — eat this, not that

According to World Health Organization, “There are currently more than 55 million people living with dementia worldwide, and there are nearly 10 million new cases each year.” Dementia, described by the WHO as “a syndrome in which there is a deterioration of cognitive functions that exceeds the usual consequences of biological aging”, memory loss, difficulty with speech, repetition of questions, lack of empathy, duration of routine tasks. tasks are common symptoms of dementia, and while there is no cure, there are lifestyle choices that can help prevent it. Eat This, Not That Health spoke with experts who share the causes of the disorder and risk factors that can be modified to reduce the likelihood of developing the syndrome. Read on — and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these WITHSigns that you have already had COVID.


Jennifer PrescottRN, MSN, CDP and founder Blue Water Home Care and Hospice stocks, “Dementia is a general term that describes a group of symptoms that affect memory, decision-making and reasoning. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which, according to Alzheimer’s Association 2022 Facts and Figures Report approximately 6.5 million Americans age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s dementia. Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, early diagnosis and treatment are important because there are medications that can improve quality of life and slow the progression of symptoms in some cases. After a diagnosis, families can work with healthcare professionals to develop a plan of care and a map of how they want to live the rest of their lives safely and with their wishes in mind.”

A woman comforts an anxious man

Cole Smith, Corporate Director Dementia care at Brightview Senior Living explains: “Dementia affects general health in many ways – whether it’s changes in appetite, lack of sleep, problems with balance, walking or standing, or of course memory loss and confusion. If a person is diagnosed with Dementia, their life will change. change and it is vital to make sure they are engaged mentally, physically, socially and see their doctors regularly to keep up to date with the condition.’

an elderly man with dementia is talking to a doctor
Shutterstock / Robert Kneschke

Prescott says:Certain lifestyle habits can increase your risk of developing dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. More research is ongoing to see a direct link between habits and the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease.

These risk factors/habits may include:

  • Old age
  • Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in the family history
  • Race/ethnicity. The CDC reports that older African Americans are twice as likely to develop dementia as Caucasians. Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely to develop dementia than Caucasians.
  • Inactivity or lack of exercise
  • Lack of brain stimulation
  • smoking
  • High blood pressure – High blood pressure can increase the risk of developing some types of dementia. More research is needed to find out whether lowering blood pressure reduces the risk of developing dementia.
  • High cholesterol – can increase the risk of dementia if left untreated
  • Brain injury”
an older woman with an adult daughter at home.

Quinn Kennedy, Ph.D., a research psychologist specializing in cognitive aging with QK Consulting, shares, “Unfortunately, it’s age the biggest risk factor for dementia. For example, 5% of people aged 65-74 have dementia compared to 33% of people aged 85 and over.”

Gloomy elderly man feels unhappy.

Chai McIntosh, Clinical Director, ChoicePoint says “Stress, depression and dementia are linked. It is not known whether depression leads to dementia or vice versa. But on the other hand, let’s reduce stress levels so the brain can be cognitively active for longer.”

An older Hispanic man with dementia tries to get dressed

McIntosh shares, “People who are physically active are less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease compared to people who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Also, physical activity reduces the likelihood of vascular diseases. Be sure to find a suitable exercise and burn extra calories to prevent dementia.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests, “Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. Adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening each week, according to current guidelines Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.”

Senior woman making a choice between healthy and junk food

Mackintosh states: “A Mediterranean diet, fruit consumption, a diet rich in antioxidants, and consumption of fish or fish oil have all been shown to be beneficial in reducing the risk of dementia.”

Heather Newgen

Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more

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