Alzheimer’s disease research has made incredible strides toward understanding what makes a person more likely to develop the condition or another form of dementia. Indeed, without a cure or well-known treatment approach, we are left to rely on our knowledge of risk factors in devising preventative measures.
Those who have devoted their lives to this research deserve our appreciation, and the month of September is set aside each year to honor the labor of these specialists who are helping us better understand Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. With this knowledge in hand, we can take steps to reduce the risk of these conditions for ourselves and others.
Not only are these researchers deserving of appreciation, but those who tirelessly deliver care for Alzheimer’s patients are also deserving of our respect and gratitude. Whether professional caregivers or family members, this service can be a thankless job, so this month serves as encouragement to reach out to those in our lives who we know are performing this service and to remind them how grateful we are for what they do. By taking care of the basic needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, these individuals truly step in with a crucial form of community support.
Risk Factors for Developing Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease
Now that some of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are well-known, we are faced with the task of addressing them in our own lives and the lives of our loved ones.
Some of these risk factors need attention at the highest level of social policy. For example, levels of early-childhood education have been correlated with the prevalence of dementia among people later in life, so policy makers need to step in and do their part to address access to education as a preventative measure for Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, air pollution has been discovered as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, and this detrimental effect must be addressed at the level of public policy. You might be asking about the risk factors at the individual level where you can address them with lifestyle habits. The following are some of the commonly known behaviors that individuals can control to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Although there is no sure-fire way to avoid dementia, a few bad habits have been correlated with higher risk in the entire population. Many of these habits will be well known to you for their connection with other health concerns. Let’s take each of these habits in turn to consider what you can do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
The first widely known health risk is smoking. Along with excessive drinking, these vices are linked not only to higher rates of dementia, but also to other negative health conditions, such as hypertension. By pursuing smoking cessation and limiting alcohol consumption, your lifestyle can set you up for prevention of dementia down the road.
Poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle are other conditions that have been linked directly to hypertension and diabetes, which are in turn directly linked to higher rates of dementia. For this reason, developing a healthy diet in line with the Mediterranean or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) model, as well as a regimen of regular exercise, will not only benefit your heart and cardiovascular system, but your cognitive health, as well.
Treatment for Hearing Loss
One more lifestyle change that might come as a surprise to you is pursuing treatment for hearing loss! Untreated hearing loss has been linked to higher rates of dementia, as well as a faster decline in cognitive functioning once a person has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
Although researchers continue to seek to understand the connection between these two conditions, the statistical relationship is borne out in many studies. Knowing this fact, the first step you can take in the direction of dementia prevention is to schedule a hearing test.
By simply getting an assessment of your hearing ability, you will be moving in the direction of a treatment, such as hearing aids. Some studies have shown that those who wear hearing aids have no greater risk of dementia than their counterparts without any hearing loss at all, so this preventative measure is indeed in your hands!
In honor of World Alzheimer’s Month, why not schedule a hearing test? Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive hearing health services.