Dementia is an umbrella term for different mental symptoms. It’s a decline in psychological health that makes it hard to function normally. The most common signs are memory loss, impaired thinking, and poor communication. But since dementia progresses over time, it’s possible to slow it down.1 Not all hope is lost! Here are seven ways you or a loved one can overcome dementia.
7 Tips To Overcome Dementia
Exercise will improve heart health and lower blood pressure. This will encourage blood flow to the brain and it will help stay healthy. Otherwise, having high blood pressure can actually damage parts of your brain and speed up dementia.2 Don’t forget, physical activity doesn’t have to be intense. A short daily walk can keep the heart (and brain) in check.
2. Reduce Sodium Intake
Limiting sodium consumption can also control blood pressure. Unfortunately, the average American gets double the recommended intake. Most of it comes from packaged processed foods like frozen dinners and boxed meals.3 You can protect your brain by eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.4
3. Stay Mentally Active
Stimulating the brain will keep it in good shape. This can be done by reading, writing, or listening to music. You can even pick up a new hobby! It’s never too late to learn something. Consider picking up a trendy DIY kit or learning a new language. Your brain will create more nerve cells when you challenge yourself.5
Socializing with other people can reduce the risk for mental decline.6 This can help you manage stress while keeping your brain active. It just goes to show how important relationships can be. If you’re not sure where to start, try joining clubs or social gatherings of your age group.
Getting enough shut-eye can help you beat cognitive decline. Even your brain needs rest and relaxation. Regular sleep will keep your nervous system healthy while strengthening nerve cells. You should aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.7
6. Manage Stress
Lowering stress levels is always a good idea. If stress isn’t managed properly, it can make existing health conditions worse. Chronic stress can also damage the heart, which is needed to protect your brain.8 Make an effort to do things you love, no matter how busy you are. Yoga, regular exercise, and adequate sleep can also control stress.
7. Avoid Smoking
Smoking can increase the risk of dementia, especially in those who are 65 and older.9 Protect your brain by staying away from cigarettes. It will decrease the risk of hypertension and heart disease, too. Keep in mind that passive smoking is just as bad.
With a good support group, dementia can be slowed down. Focus on keeping your brain and body active every single day. It’s totally possible to live a healthy life with dementia!
|↑1||[Dementia](http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dementia/symptoms-causes/dxc-20198504 “Dementia”),Mayo Clinic|
|↑2||[Healthy Aging](http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/blood-pressure-and-alzheimers-risk-whats-the-connection “Healthy Aging”),John Hopkins Medicine|
|↑3||[How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day?](https://sodiumbreakup.heart.org/how_much_sodium_should_i_eat?utm_source=SRI&utm_medium=HeartOrg&utm_term=Website&utm_content=SodiumAndSalt&utm_campaign=SodiumBreakup “How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day”),American Heart Association|
|↑4||[Prevention and Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia]( http://www.alz.org/research/science/alzheimers_prevention_and_risk.asp “Prevention and Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia”),Alzheimer’s Association|
|↑5, ↑6||[Prevention and Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia](http://www.alz.org/research/science/alzheimers_prevention_and_risk.asp “Prevention and Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia”),Alzheimer’s Association|
|↑7||[Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep]( https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep#for_us “Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep”),National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke|
|↑8||[How stress affects your health](http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress.aspx “How stress affects your health”),American Psychological Association|
|↑9||[Peters, Ruth, Ruth Poulter, James Warner, Nigel Beckett, Lisa Burch, and Chris Bulpitt. “Smoking, dementia and cognitive decline in the elderly, a systematic review.” BMC Geriatrics 8.36 (2008)|