Could new studies be the answer to preventing the onset of dementia?
A diagnosis of dementia is heart-breaking for both the individual and their loved ones as they witness the advancing decline of functional and cognitive health.
The term dementia embraces a number of neurogenerative disorders causing cognitive decline and brain health deterioration. It’s thought that the build-up of beta-amyloid and tau protein in the brain is the probable cause of Alzheimer’s disease, the most well-known type of dementia. Genetics and lifestyle also play a part in the onset of this disease.
In this blog, Rejuvenated explores the symptoms of dementia, and how natural medications and supplements can improve brain health and help to lower your dementia risk.
What are the symptoms of dementia?
Each person’s symptoms are individual and different but can include memory loss, difficulty concentrating, problems with communication, confusion, and mood changes.
An early diagnosis is important, and anyone who thinks that they may be at risk of dementia should speak to their doctor to put in place a plan to reduce the impact and slow down the onset of the disease.
Risk factors for dementia
While there is no single cause of dementia, several risk factors have been identified that can increase a person's likelihood of developing the condition. By understanding these factors, individuals can take steps to reduce their risk of developing dementia and maintain good brain health as they age.
Here are the risk factors to be aware of:
Age: First and foremost, it's important to know that dementia is more common in older adults. So, as we age, our potential of developing dementia increases. However, it's not just a normal part of ageing, and there are things we can do to help lower our risk, which we’ll look at below.
Genetics: One of the factors that can influence our risk is genetics. Some genes have been linked to an increased likelihood of developing dementia, but having those genes doesn't necessarily mean you'll develop the condition.
Family history: Another factor to consider is family history. If you have a close relative who has had dementia, that can increase your risk too. But again, it's not a guarantee.
Lifestyle factors: Certain lifestyle factors can also come into play. Things like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not exercising enough, and eating a poor diet can increase your chances of developing dementia. Making healthy lifestyle choices, like enjoying a balanced diet, staying physically active and maintaining a healthy weight can have many health benefits, not least of which is lowering your risk of dementia.
Medical conditions: Medical conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and obesity can also increase factors for dementia. Taking care of your overall health can help lower your risk for these conditions and, in turn, lower your risk of dementia.
Brain injuries: A history of head injuries can also play a role in dementia risk. While not every head injury will lead to dementia, it's still important to take steps to prevent them whenever possible.
Social isolation: Lastly, research suggests that social isolation and a lack of social support can increase the risk of dementia.
Remember, just because you have one or more of these risk factors doesn't mean you'll definitely develop dementia. But by taking care of your physical and mental health, and staying connected with others, you can help reduce the possibility and maintain your brain health as you age.
How medication and supplements can help
Fortunately, certain drugs can help to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s. A person with Alzheimer’s has a low level of a chemical called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine transmits messages between nerve cells, and the brain loses the ability to make these transitions.
Cholinesterase inhibitors (rivastigmine, galantamine and donepezil) help to prevent the breaking down of acetylcholine to give better communication and ease some of the symptoms of cognitive decline for a period of time.
Recently scientists are finding that certain food supplements may also help with dementia prevention, or at least slow its progress. Several of these include ingredients that are found in our Regenerate supplement.
Nicotinamide Mononucleotide occurs naturally in the body and is the building block for a coenzyme called Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD). NAD works with a family of proteins called sirtuins which help to repair DNA and cellular energy. Early studies by scientists indicate that boosting NAD activity can help to reduce inflammation and improve cognitive function.
Resveratrol has shown that it may be able to play a part in protecting from the effects of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It decreases the amount of malondialdehyde, a highly toxic chemical compound, while simultaneously promoting superoxide dismutase and glutathione levels in the brain. The study suggested that the neuroprotective effects were due to resveratrol’s anti-oxidant properties.
properties. Fisetin, in particular, has shown encouraging results in delaying the onset of Parkinson’s Disease. It must be said that more research is needed to determine the full benefits of these ingredients and how they work to protect the brain.
Discover more about Regenerate by Rejuvenated in our blog on the signs of ageing and how Regenerate can reduce them. If you should have any health concerns, please speak to a doctor before taking this product.
Other ways to prevent dementia
Taking the right supplements is not the only way to reduce your risk - other proactive steps and healthy lifestyle changes can also have a big impact. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy and reduce your risk of developing dementia:
Stay mentally active: Engage in activities that challenge your brain, such as reading, puzzles, learning a new skill, or taking up a new hobby. Keeping your brain active and stimulated can help maintain cognitive function.
Stay physically active: Regular physical activity, such as brisk walking, swimming, or other forms of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, can help improve blood flow to the brain and promote brain health.
Follow a healthy diet: Eat a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, such as those found in fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. If you regularly drink (which is a risk factor in itself), aim for several alcohol-free days a week. Also, limit intake of processed and sugary foods.
Manage medical conditions: Keep chronic health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, under control through regular check-ups with your healthcare provider, taking prescribed medications as directed, and making necessary lifestyle modifications.
Protect your head: Take steps to prevent head injuries, such as wearing a seatbelt in the car, using appropriate protective gear during sports or physical activities, and taking measures to prevent falls at home, especially for older adults.
Stay socially engaged: Maintain an active social life by spending time with family and friends, participating in social activities, joining clubs or groups, and volunteering. Social engagement can help reduce the risk of social isolation, which has been linked to an increased risk of dementia.
Get enough sleep: Prioritise getting adequate sleep each night, as poor sleep or sleep disorders may increase the risk of cognitive decline. Aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep per night, and seek medical attention if you have concerns about your sleep quality.
Manage stress: Chronic stress can have negative impacts on brain health. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as through relaxation techniques, meditation, or talking to a therapist or counsellor if needed. After all, mental wellbeing is important for many reasons.
Quit smoking: If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your overall health, including brain health. Seek support from healthcare providers, friends, and family to quit smoking if you need help.
Remember, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing risk factors for dementia is a lifelong process. It's important to consult with your healthcare provider for personalised recommendations and guidance based on your individual health needs. By taking steps to promote brain health, you can reduce your risk of developing vascular dementia and improve your overall well-being.