As our bodies age, we have to accept new limitations. We lose muscle, joints can become painful or need replacement, and our brains can experience similar declines. Dementia, a cognitive decline often associated with age, has been linked to certain genetic quirks, but a family history of dementia doesn’t mean there’s nothing a person can do to fight it off.
New guidance from the World Health Organization focuses on lifestyle changes that researchers believe can help delay the onset of dementia symptoms even in people who may be genetically prone. It also addresses some popular myths related to supplements that people may be using in an effort to combat the condition.
The news release starts out with some basic tips on fighting the condition based on established research efforts:
People can reduce their risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
For the most part, the advice is stuff that we’ve heard for ages regarding healthy living. Still, it bears consideration that following these tips could push back dementia symptoms and help people live more fulfilling lives their age advances. The full report is available on the WHO’s website.
“In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. “We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia. The scientific evidence gathered for these Guidelines confirms what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain.”
Cutting out sweets and controlling the intake of alcohol, along with exercising, are great habits to get into regardless of whether you’re doing it for heart health, energy levels, or to save your brain from the ravages of aging. It doesn’t make bad habits any easier to break, of course, but it’s nice knowing that committing to a healthier lifestyle has clear benefits for your brain as well.