Dementia is an umbrella term for a variety of conditions and diseases (including, but certainly not limited to Alzheimer’s Disease) that cause a decline in problem-solving skills, language skills and memory skills. This cognitive decline affects everyday life, and can make doing little things a real challenge.
Oftentimes, dementia can be misunderstood. In this article, we’ll clarify some of the key facts about dementia. We will review the current research around preventing dementia, who’s at risk for dementia, and the differences between normal aging and dementia.
Who Is At Risk For Dementia?
Some people think that dementia is purely genetic. This is a common misconception. While there is a genetic component to dementia, the majority of cases lack a clear genetic explanation.
As a whole, family history is a contributing risk factor for dementia, but certainly not the only one. The greatest risk for many forms of dementia is advanced age. Other risk factors include smoking and alcohol use, high cholesterol, diabetes, atherosclerosis, plasma homocysteine and pre-existing mild cognitive impairment.
How Can Dementia Be Prevented?
While there is no cure for dementia, prevention is key. Promising new research around klotho therapy is shedding light on the anti-aging potential that klotho proteins possess. Klotho proteins, which occur naturally in humans, are involved in all sorts of vital biological processes. Because of the role that they play biologically, there is hope that these proteins may one day be used to prevent the onset of dementia while suppressing the signs of aging.
Living a healthy lifestyle can also help reduce the risk of age-related conditions like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Eating well, staying active, and making sleep a priority can go a long way in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Keeping your mind active and engaged can prolong cognitive function as you age. By doing simple things like trying new things, socializing with friends, or taking a continuing education class, you can keep your brain active. Physically, you can protect your head by installing anti-slip mats throughout your house to prevent a fall and wearing a helmet when you engage in activities like riding a bike.
Is Dementia A Normal Part Of Aging?
No. This is one of the chief misconceptions about dementia, and certainly one of the least true. Dementia is usually either chronic or progressive, which means that symptoms will either not go away or will become more severe.
Normal aging may cause you to be occasionally forgetful. Dementia, on the other hand, may cause more frequent and severe forgetfulness .
To help keep regular age-related memory loss in check, try maintaining a daily routine, writing things down in a calendar, keeping keys and valuables in dedicated spaces, and making sleep a priority. If you are concerned about memory loss, schedule a healthcare evaluation to better understand the symptoms of dementia.
Technology has provided promising advancements in the understanding of dementia. With klotho therapy on the horizon, there is hope that the age-related risks of dementia will no longer be a concern. Until then, understanding the common symptoms of dementia and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can mitigate the risks that come with aging.