Firstly, while getting older is the single, biggest risk factor for developing dementia, there are many ways to prevent the onset of this debilitating disease. The idea is to keep the brain in good health as we age, says neuroengineering expert Dr. Curtis Cripe.
When a person hits the age of 65, the chances of brain cell degeneration, as seen in Alzheimer’s disease, get doubled every five years thereafter, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This is certainly an alarming thought and one that people should all be wary of over time. It is important to avoid extra stress on the brain should and to continue supplying it with both oxygen and glucose. Below are the top risk factors outside aging that people can do something about to fight the onset of dementia:
Cardiovascular disease: Experts in brain science says that having heart and blood vessel diseases may accelerate the brain cell degeneration and cause Alzheimer’s.
Depression: Keep in mind that dementia and depression are often interlinked. In fact, having depression is considered by doctors as an early warning sign of dementia.
Diabetes: Studies have shown that decreased mental function is seen more in middle-aged individuals who are suffering from diabetes. This is because a decline in the blood-sugar control equates to a sharp drop in mental capacity.
Head injury: This is a given dementia risk factor. Even as parents protect their kids from hitting their heads when engaging in sports by making sure they wear helmets, adults should be more careful as the risk of head injury, and brain damage is much higher, adds Dr. Curtis Cripe.
Curtis Cripe, Ph.D. is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in neuroengineering programs aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders connected to head injury, depression, anxiety, memory disorders, and learning disorders. More neurology-related reads here.