What is Dementia?
Dementia is an umbrella term to describe the loss of memory, language, and general cognitive thinking. People are diagnosed with dementia when their cognitive thinking skills have deteriorated severely enough to interfere with their daily life.
Dementia is caused when you lose or damage nerve cells that have connections to your brain. Despite popular belief, memory loss is not the only symptom of dementia. In fact, dementia affects people differently, and symptoms vary depending on which area of the brain has suffered damage.
Symptoms of Dementia
Those with dementia not only show changes in their cognitive thinking, but they also experience changes in their behavior, mood, and speech.
Memory loss: Those with dementia often cannot remember the names of their loved ones, important dates in their life, or even where they live.
Problems speaking or writing: Those diagnosed with dementia often have difficulty remembering the correct wording for objects, often referring to them as, “that thing.” They also have difficulty following a conversation. Often loved ones find that family members with dementia have difficulty writing, and their hand writing seems to look jumbled.
Changes in mood: Dementia patients are often reported having anxiety or nervousness. They also often have mood swings, personality changes, and can become irritable quickly. Often, a person with dementia can become restless and show signs of acting inappropriately despite being in public.
Difficulty with cognitive thinking: A person with dementia may get confused while trying to think things through, and may frequently make poor decisions. They also often have trouble concentrating or keeping track of daily tasks. Things such as paying bills or walking the dog around the neighborhood may become challenging for those with dementia.
Also common: Depression, difficulty with visual perception, sleep disorders, unsteady walking, loss of appetite.
How to reduce the risk of developing dementia
Exercising helps build muscles, regulate the body, and release negative energy from the body and mind. Walks, bicycle rides, yoga, and meditation are great exercises to start on. When ready, pick up hobbies such as tennis, hiking, gardening, and long walks on the beach.
Exercise your mind
Picking up word searches, crosswords, and puzzles are simple, yet very effective in working out the mind while increasing our knowledge. Even reading helps the mind stay active. By regularly using and challenging yourself, your brain seems to build up its ability to cope with the disease.
Get better sleep
Having 7-9 hours of sleep can recharge the mind and body, allowing everything to function correctly throughout the day. Lack of sleep can cause the body and mind to shutt down, causing mood swings and long-term effects such as insomnia. This, along with the stress from lack of sleep, can cause pressure on the brain that could cause severe dementia when older.
Control your blood pressure
Blood pressure is measured in how forceful your heart pumps blood through the arteries to the rest of the body. An ideal reading would be below 120/80. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, causes the heart to pump blood more challenging and faster in the body, preventing the brain from receiving the proper amount of oxygen to function accordingly. High blood pressure could lead to memory loss, strokes, kidney failure, and more.
Being surrounded by your loved ones and other positive people can help keep the mind active and healthy, all while having fun. Having family and friends increases the chance of staying active and moving, stimulating the mind, and staying alert. This little activity can help the mind immensely.
Too much sugar can create severe damage to the body in more ways than one can imagine. Not only can too much sugar can develop diabetes and obesity, but sugar can disrupt our hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls our memories. Sugar can also raise blood pressure and cholesterol, which can easily negatively affect the brain.