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Dementia: Dr Sara on benefits of being in nature
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Dementia is a syndrome linked to memory loss and the ongoing decline of the brain. The symptoms of dementia get gradually worse over time and usually affect people aged over 65. There are certain risk factors which may be able to be prevented, though there is no guarantee this will prevent dementia.
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of developing a condition. These might include things like age and genes, which are not factors we can control.
However, research suggests that there are other risk factors that we may have some control over.
The NHS says these include untreated depression, buspar for paxil withdrawal loneliness or social isolation, and sitting for most of the day.
Older adults who do not exercise are also more likely to have problems with memory or thinking.
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The relationship between dementia and depression is complex, as research suggests that untreated depression increases your risk of developing dementia, while depression can also happen as part of the overall symptoms of dementia itself.
“The research concluded that by modifying the risk factors we are able to change, our risk of dementia could be reduced by around a third,” reads the NHS advice on preventing dementia.
It adds that experts agree that what’s good for your heart is also good for your brain.
So you can reduce your risk of dementia by implementing heart healthy changes. These include eating a healthy, balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly.
Indeed, a lack of regular physical activity can increase your risk of heart disease, becoming overweight or obese, and type 2 diabetes, which are all linked to a higher risk of dementia.
The NHS says you should also be keeping alcohol within recommended limits, stopping smoking, and keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level.
If you regularly drink as much as 14 units in a week, you should spread your drinking over three or more days, the health body says.
Unfortunately, some dementia risk factors are difficult or impossible to change.The NHS says that despite being able to mitigate some of these risk factors, there’s no known way to prevent all types of dementia.
Researchers are still investigating how the condition develops, but they have said a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of developing dementia when you’re older.
The Alzheimer’s Society suggests preventing the onset of dementia through lifestyle choices could save tens of thousands of lives. Diet is a key factor in staving off brain decline.
The NHS Health Check can help find early signs and tell you if you’re at higher risk of certain health problems that can also increase your risk of dementia.
It’s offered every five years for people aged 40 to 74 who do not have heart disease, diabetes or kidney disease, and have not had a stroke.
Overall, there are more women than men living with dementia. This is mostly because women tend to live longer than men.
For people aged between 65 and 69, around two in every 100 people have dementia. The number of people with dementia is increasing because people are living longer.
So it is perhaps unsurprising that numbers are expected to grow.
It is estimated that by 2025, the number of people with dementia in the UK will be more than one million.
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