15 Things You Can Do Now to Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

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As Baycrest researchers focus their efforts on finding effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, there are still opportunities to intervene.
“There are at least 20 prevention strategies currently available that have the potential to slow cognitive decline and prevent various forms of dementia,” says Dr. Howard Chertkow, Chair in Cognitive Neurology and Innovation and senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute. “An international study has shown that up to one third of dementia cases could be delayed or prevented by managing certain health conditions.”
“There are things people can start now to reduce their risk of dementia.”

We know that Alzheimer’s disease starts to develop in the brain decades before the symptoms of memory loss become obvious,” says Dr. Chertkow, who is also the scientific director of Canada’s largest dementia research network, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging, which moved its scientific headquarters to Baycrest this year. “There are things people can start now to reduce their risk of dementia.”
Below are some of the things people can start doing now – at any age.
  1. Manage medical conditions. Disorders such as kidney disease and sleep apnea can affect your brain health.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. Relax before going to bed and create a comfortable sleeping environment.
  3. Keep fit and exercise regularly. Walk 10 minutes, 3x a week and build that to 1 hour per day, 3x a week.
  4. Take care of your dental hygiene. Floss and brush regularly.
  5. Engage in intellectually stimulating activities. Activities can include crosswords, puzzles, trivia etc.
  6. Treat hearing loss. Visit an audiologist to learn about helpful communication strategies.
  7. Eat a healthy diet. Get started with the Brain Health Food Guide.
  8. Stay socially active. Join a community centre or a book club.
  9. Find a purpose in life. Volunteering may be the best route.
  10. Decrease stress. Try yoga or meditation to help you relax.
  11. Protect your heart health. Treat high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease.
  12. Prevent diabetes and obesity. Adopt a healthy lifestyle.
  13. Treat depression. Discuss with your doctor.
  14. Avoid taking sedatives. Sleeping pills should also be avoided.
  15. Avoid excess alcohol. Limit your intake to one glass of wine.
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