Susan always knew that after she retired she would be living an active lifestyle. She travels a lot and at 68 she’s been to over a dozen countries and is planning many more trips. On any given day, you may find her out on the lake, tackling a new hiking trail with the grandkids, or volunteering at the local children’s hospital.
Susan always has something new to see or do. But in the back of her mind, Susan is worried that cognitive decline or dementia could change all that.
Her mother displayed first signs of dementia when she was about Susan’s age. Over a 15 year period, Susan watched as the woman who had always cared for her and loved her without condition struggled with what seemed to be simple tasks. She forgets random things. Eventually, she could only identify Susan on a good day.
Susan has tried to eat a healthy diet and exercise so she could hopefully avoid what her mother went through. But she wonders, is she doing enough? Are there confirmed ways to slow dementia or cognitive decline?
Fortunately, it is possible to prevent cognitive decline by doing a few things. Three of them are listed here.
1. Exercise Everyday
Susan discovered that she’s already on the right track. Every day she tries to get at least the recommended amount of exercise.
People who do moderate exercise every day have a reduced risk of mental decline according to many studies. They’ve also had a positive impact on people who are already noticing symptoms of mental decline.
Scientists believe that exercise might ward off mental decline for numerous very important reasons.
- As an individual ages, the nervous system deteriorates and regular exercise can slow this. The brain needs these nerves to communicate with the body, process memories, and consider how to do things. Exercise slows this breakdown so researchers think that it could also slow cognitive decline.
- Neuroprtection factors might be enhanced with exercise. Your body has mechanisms that protect certain types of cells from harm. These protectors may be created at a higher level in people who get an abundance of exercise.
- Exercise lowers the danger of cardiovascular disease. Nutrients and oxygen are transported to the brain by blood. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease stops this blood flow. By keeping the vessels and heart healthy, exercise might be able to delay dementia.
2. Have Vision Problems Treated
An 18-year study of 2000 people with cataracts, demonstrated that having cataract surgery halved the occurrence of mental decline in the group who had them removed.
While this study concentrated on one prevalent cause for eyesight loss, this study backs the fact that preserving eyesight as you get older is important for your cognitive health.
People often begin to isolate themselves from friends and withdraw from things they love when they lose their eyesight at an older age. Additional studies have investigated links between social separation and worsening dementia.
If you have cataracts, don’t just ignore them. You’ll be protecting yourself against the advancement of dementia if you do what you can to preserve healthy vision.
3. Get Hearing Aids
If you have untreated hearing loss, you may be on your way into cognitive decline. The same researchers from the cataract research gave 2000 different people who had hearing loss a hearing aid. They tested the advancement of cognitive decline in the same way.
The results were even more significant. Cognitive decline was reduced by 75% in the participants who received hearing aids. So the dementia symptoms they were already experiencing simply stopped.
There are some likely reasons for this.
First is the social factor. People who are dealing with neglected hearing loss tend to socially isolate themselves because they have a hard time interacting with their friends at social gatherings and events.
Also, a person slowly forgets how to hear when they begin to lose their hearing. If the person waits years to get a hearing aid, this degeneration progresses into other parts of the brain.
In fact, researchers have actually compared the brains of people with untreated hearing loss to people who use hearing aids using an MRI. People with neglected hearing loss actually experience shrinking of the brain.
That’s definitely not good for your memory and mental abilities.
Stave off dementia by wearing your hearing aids if you have them. If you have hearing loss and are reluctant to get hearing aids, it’s time to make an appointment with us. Find out how you can hear better with today’s technological advancements in hearing aids.