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Dementia Risk? Keep Your Memory Sharp

Updated on April 14, 2015

By 2050, 14 million Americans could have Alzheimer's Disease, up from 4.7 million estimated to have the memory robbing disease in 2010. The mean time between onset and death is only seven years.

Encouraging new research from the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease found that ordinary but key lifestyle factors could reduce the risk of Alzheimer's by 25%.

Let's discuss the adjustments to your lifestyle which could slow down the risk of Dementia that some people face.

Vitamin Intake

People with memory problems who took vitamin B12 supplements slowed down the rate of brain shrinkage, which is a component of increased dementia risk.

The RDA of 1.5mg is easy to obtain by eating beef, shellfish and eggs. For vegetarians, soya milk is perfect.

Watch Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, but the risk of developing dementia is increased threefold. We know that Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, but it is followed by vascular dementia caused by poor blood flow to the brain.

Have your blood pressure checked regularly and talk to your doctor about getting it down if the lower pressure is over 90 and the higher pressure is 145 and above, says Professor June Andrews, director of the Dementia Centre in the United Kingdom.

Some of the best way to reduce blood pressure includes stopping smoking, reducing added salt and processed food, exercising regularly and trying to minimize and keep in check your stress levels.

As your blood delivers nutrients and glucose to your brain, it is important to be treated by your medical practitioner if you have high levels of LDL or bad cholesterol or Type 2 diabetes, both of which increase the damage to small blood vessels and concurrently, your risk factor.

Dementia: Reducing the risk with a healthy lifestyle

Start Walking

Many of us are upping our walking as the evidence accumulates regarding the health benefits of the humble walk.

Alzheimer's disease is a gradual loss of the total number of neurons in the brain. As the body secretes protective chemicals and protein during physical activity, which spark the growth of neurons, it only takes 30 minutes of walking or 20 minutes' of cycling briskly to reap the benefits.

Learning anything that's new to you can help improve the pathways to the different parts of the brain. These may include ballroom dancing, joining a choir, learning a foreign language or musical instrument or playing team sport.

A Brazilian study found that combining aerobic activity with strength training improved learning and memory.

Keep your exercise regular and moderate and take at least one day off a week. Exercise with friends as socializing is also key to lowering the risk of dementia in all its forms.

Savvy about Fats

Your brain is covered in a fat called the myelin sheath, which acts as an insulator to keep electrical impulses traveling correctly along the nerve pathways.

New research published in "Neurology" magazine, states that those who ate a diet high in trans fatty fast food had lower scores on brain tests and more grey matter shrinkage than is typical of Alzheimer's disease.
Therefore, a brain protective diet rich in healthy fats, omega 3s in particular, could have he opposite effect. Eat salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines or fresh tuna (not tinned) to provide your weekly intake.

Avoid anything with word "hydrogenated" in its ingredients as this means it contains trans fats.

What is Homosysteine?

Homocysteine is an amino acid found in blood and created in response to eating protein. High levels have been associated with heart problems, but strong evidence signifies that high homocysteine levels could result in memory loss, a decrease in cognitive functions and a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease.

One Australian study found that eating folate-rich foods is associated with memory recall, and after five weeks of upping the folate intake, the participants in the study showed overall improvements in memory.

If you have memory problems talk to your doctor about having your homocysteine levels checked. Meanwhile, a diet rich in crucial folate, obtained from green vegetables such as spinach, Kale, asparagus, brussel sprints and broccoli as well as brown rice, peas and oranges. B12 vitamins continue to keep homocysteine levels low.

Waist Measurements

There is increasing evidence that being overweight adds to your risk of developing Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.

One reason is that too much insulin in the brain, caused by being obese or overweight, may stimulate the build-up of the plaques found in the brains of those who suffer from Alzheimer's.

Brain Exercise

Professor Ian Robertson from Trinity College, Dublin, says "Testing the brain produces new cells and strengthens the connections between them, which fights memory problems in the short term and protects the brain from decline in the long term."

Roman Room Exercise: Write down a list of 10 - 15 random items (perhaps your shopping list). Then think of a room you know well. Memorise the words by putting the items at points around the room.

Now try to recall all the words.

The first time you do this it will be hard as you're recalling the room and the items, but as more brain cells form the easier the exercise gets.

He continues, by saying "studies show that by the time you've played the game for the equivalent of one hour (around 20 times) your brain will be acting ten years younger than before!"

New Research

The Washington University School of Medicine has found that Citalopram, a commonly prescribed antidepressant, may be effective at slowing the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

The problems with cognition and memory loss caused by Alzheimers are strongly influenced by a build up of plaque in the brain.

This particular antidepressant was found to halt the growth of existing plaques, while reducing the formation of new plaques by 78%.

This is indeed great news for those suffering from Alzheimers disease, and for those living with loved ones at the start of the disease.

Unlocking the truth about Demential and Alzheimers - Mensuh Medical - Natural Treatment Options

© 2013 Shelley Watson


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    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      4 years ago

      NateB11, Thank you for visiting, and I am sorry to hear about your mother. I hope you don't follow in her footsteps in this case, glad you stopped by.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 

      4 years ago from California, United States of America

      This information is particularly of interest to me because my mother has dementia and I take care of her. So, I've often pondered the possibility that I could end up with dementia. You have presented a good list with clear descriptions on the risk factors for getting dementia and what could be done about them. I knew about some of these factors, but you filled in the details on those and I always learned about some I didn't know about. Thanks for the info, much appreciated.

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      4 years ago

      Thank you so much for you comment. I do know that learning anything knew such as a language or musical instrument improves your brain power - to my mind looking up information, absorbing different ideas and then writing articles exercises the brain and therefore can only be a good thing!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      As I limp along not so gracefully into my dotage I start to take articles like this much more seriously. What do you think are the brain benefits of writing? Well written hub and very informative.

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      5 years ago

      Careermommy, Hi thank you for visiting and I appreciate your input. Glad to hear you are monitoring your blood pressure, something many of us need to keep a tight watch over.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 

      5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      CyberShelley, thank you for these types. I'm often wondering about ways to keep my memory sharp. The vitamin intake is something I need to do more consistently. And, I definitely am monitoring my blood pressure since it is high. Great hub!

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      5 years ago

      Mama Kim hello, thanks for the visit and the giggle!

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 

      5 years ago

      I'll have to keep these in find from now on... if I remember this tomorrow. I'll bookmark it just to be sure ^_^ Thanks for all the wonderful information here, I'm sure I'm not the only one who fears dementia! voting up and sharing

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      5 years ago

      acaetnna, thank you for stopping by. Yes, it is a sad problem, one of my friends' father has just been diagnosed, he went downhill so quickly.

    • acaetnna profile image


      5 years ago from Guildford

      DEMENTIA is so said and such a real problem. What a great hub, everyone should read this.

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      5 years ago

      europewalker, Thank you for stopping by. I am sorry to hear you lost your mother in such a very hard way. In the end we know so very little about the brain. I wonder how, by using only one tenth of our brain, can we possibly learn 100% of all that it is.

      Vinaya Ghimire glad you stopped to read. Interesting what your father did with herbs - please let me know if you decide to write about it.

      DDE hello. Thank you again for your comment and glad you visited.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      One must keep their memory in mind and work at the simplest ways to avoid Alzheimer's it can be taken for granted that one neglects their improved lifestyles.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      5 years ago from Nepal

      When I was a boy my father fed me different kinds of herbs for memory power. However, I have never tried memory supplements except from Vitamin B12. Thank for sharing your expertise.

    • europewalker profile image


      5 years ago

      Good advice. My mom had alzheimers and died at age 81. The last couple of years of her life were horible. I am trying to do what I can to keep myself healthy. Interesting hub, voted up:)

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      5 years ago

      Carol7777, Thank you for visiting, it great to see your name again!

      billybuc, Thank you for stopping by. I am so sorry you are losing your friend. The only Alzheimer's I have witnessed was a work colleague who was also 46, but her deterioration was frighteningly fast as within 15 months she had lost most of who she was and had only rare moments of lucidity.

      peachpurple, Thank you for dropping in. I really do hope that your Mother, with your help, will get back her physical and mental capabilites. It is a long road, but not impossible!

      mts1098 Hello and thank you for your kind comments. Luckily, both my grannies held onto their memories well into their 90's, so hopefully I will too. I thought it was good to know how to look after the brain, as I find it so useful! LOL.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This was a good article in many way but mostly because you were able to tackle two individual components (diet and memory) and tie them together...more vitamins...more memory...cheers

    • peachpurple profile image


      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Wonderful information on how to avoid dementia. My mom had stroke and dementia because the left hand side brain was affected. Her right hand side arm and leg were paralyzed. Anyway, i am now trying to jog back her past memory and help her to remember new ones too. Voted up

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great information, Shelley! My best friend has Alzheimer's and it is an ugly thing to see. He was diagnosed when he was 46; he is 52 now and the deterioration is very noticeable in the four years I have known him. Anyway, thank you for writing about this.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      Good ideas here for this dreaded condition.


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