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10 steps for preventing dementia

Canadian Living
Health

10 steps for preventing dementia

Keeping your mind active can ward off dementia While, for many of us, January is all about getting ourselves in shape physically, it's also an important time to discuss mental health. Alzheimer's Awareness Month is upon us, and a recent Nanos survey indicates that, as with other mental health issues, dementia continues be tainted by stigma. Sixty percent of Canadians said that, compared to other diseases, they'd be less likely to disclose that they or a loved one suffered from dementia and cited stigma as the reason. But it's likely that stigma won't last since, according to MyWebHealthReport.com, a preventative web-based health platform, dementia is on the rise: The number of people suffering from dementia is expected to triple over the coming decades, affecting 135 million people by 2050. Meanwhile, Mimi Lowi-Young, the Alzheimer Society of Canada's CEO, says that, currently, 74 percent of Canadians have personal ties to dementia. Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease include memory loss; difficulty with language; disorientation; impaired judgment and mental faculties; and changes in mood, behaviour or personality. And while dementia is strongly influenced by genetics, lifestyle factors also factor into an individual's likelihood of developing the disease. Dr. Eamon Keane, a MyWebHealthReport physician, encourages doing what we can through everyday lifestyle choices to mitigate these factors. "Simple lifestyle changes can both reduce the risk and slow the progression of the disease by reducing common inflammatory pathways for dementia." Want to keep dementia at bay? Read on to learn what 10 simple steps you can take to keep your brain at its peak. 1. Sleep more. Sleep allows the body to restore itself. While you're getting your shut-eye, the brain eliminates waste and toxins. 2. Eat a healthful diet. Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables fuel the brain, while healthful fats found in foods like nuts and fish maintain brain function. 3. Socialize. Research indicates that isolation can lead to cognitive decline. 4. Stay positive. An optimistic outlook on life promotes and fosters mental health. 5. Get mental stimulation. Unfamiliar cognitive activities stimulate the brain more so than those you perform every day. Learning a new language and puzzles are a great way to keep your brain active. 6. Exercise. Increasing your heart rate means that your brain is receiving more nutrients and oxygen than when you're in a sedentary state. 7. Track your physical health. Certain physical ailments (diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol) have been linked to an increased likelihood of developing dementia. A healthy body promotes a healthy mind. 8. Take multivitamins. Ensuring your brain receives all the vitamins it needs can preserve mental faculties. 9. Lead a balanced life. Stress has been linked to brain deterioration, so managing your work-life balance is integral to mental health. 10. Keep bad habits in check. Alzheimer's symptoms can manifest six to seven years earlier as a result of excessive drinking and smoking. Photo courtesy Free Range Stock/Wixphoto.com)
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10 steps for preventing dementia

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