Dementia is a brain disorder that affects a person’s memory and speech, along with a variety of motor skills. It also affects a person’s ability to regulate emotions and interact with other people. There are a variety of different types of dementia, as well as various underlying causes. In addition, there are some forms of dementia that are treatable and others that aren’t. For the most part, doctors agree that people have a genetic predisposition to most types of dementia, excluding the ones that are caused by a traumatic brain injury. In recent years, however, there have been many studies that show how certain lifestyle tendencies can have a profound effect on whether a person will develop this disease. The four factors examined by researchers were people’s smoking status, levels of physical activity, alcohol consumption, and diet.
The two most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s Disease and Vascular Dementia. Both of these disorders are tied to problems with the vascular system, meaning associated with the heart and blood vessels. Smoking is tied to dementia because it increases the chances of developing vascular problems. It can also lead to bleeding in the brain or having a stroke. Both of these issues are proven as potential gateways to developing dementia.
There are many reasons for staying active, but now people can add to that list a reduced chance of becoming senile. The white matter of our brains is comprised of millions of bundles of nerve fibers. These are the pathways connecting various parts of the brain that aid in decision-making, memory, and cognition. Studies involving the brains of older adults have shown a decreased amount of white matter in those who don’t maintain an active lifestyle. People with increased physical activity were able to slow down white matter degradation.
Doctors have known for years that drugs and alcohol kill brain cells. They also know it happens faster than the aging process. Studies have now found a correlation between excessive drug and alcohol use and signs of dementia. When alcohol is consumed in large quantities, neurons that are normally supposed to regenerate are prevented from doing so and instead, die.
Diet plays an important role, too. The Meditteranean approach towards eating has long been touted as the healthiest easting style. Evidence shows that a diet that is abundant in fruit, vegetables, cereals, while also being low in red meat and sugar could help reduce the likelihood of dementia.