Unfortunately, risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s, such as age, history of family and genetic heritage can’t be altered, but you may be able to address some of the other factors involved and buy yourself some time or stave off the loss of brain function that comes from simple lifestyle factors.
Dementia is defined as a decline in mental acuity that eventually impedes your lifestyle. Dementia is associated with memory loss – and Alzheimer’s (memory loss from aging) is a form of dementia.
Some risk factors involved with dementia include damage to the brain. If you’ve had a concussion or other accident or condition which affects your brain function, you could have a greater risk for dementia.
In some cases, the brain is unable to communicate from cell to cell, inhibiting your behavior, feelings and think patterns. Symptoms include inability to focus or reason and problems with language and memory.
There’s a big misconception about memory loss. It scares people when they misplace their keys or forget why they entered a room. But memory loss doesn’t necessarily mean that you have Alzheimer’s disease. There are certain changes in the brain which indicate Alzheimer’s disease and must be diagnosed by testing from a health care professional.
Dementia may be caused by several other factors than injuries to the brain. If you experience severe depression, take a medication with memory loss side effects, ingest alcohol in excess or experience thyroid problems, you may be at risk for developing dementia.
Vitamin deficiency is also a risk factor in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. As you age, you should be tested periodically for both changes in your thyroid gland and for any vitamin deficiency problems.
There is also a real connection between the heart and the brain when it comes to your risk for developing dementia. Your brain depends on the network of blood vessels to keep it healthy.
If you’re experiencing heart problems, you could be losing a percentage of the oxygen your blood carries to the brain – making it more difficult for the brain to function properly. Be sure to monitor your heart problems for signs that you’re not getting enough oxygen to the brain.
Symptoms of the heart interfering with brain function may include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and diabetes. Take steps now to improve your health and prevent some of the risks associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.