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Ways to Delay Dementia


Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are not inevitable with aging.

In recent years, researchers have identified many factors that may slow or prevent the development of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The March issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter outlines some.

* Control diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and obesity. There’s increasing evidence that these major risk factors for heart disease and stroke may also predispose people to dementia.

Vascular dementia, a common form of the illness, results from damage related to small and large blood vessel disease. By controlling cardiovascular risk factors, you may prevent the blockages and damage to the blood vessels to your brain that can lead to this condition.

* Manage depression. Like dementia, depression can cause difficulty in remembering, thinking clearly and concentrating. Sometimes, depression occurs with dementia. Treating depression won’t stop dementia from progressing, but it could help minimize its impact.

* Keep your mind sharp. Some researchers believe that lifelong learning may promote the growth of additional synapses in your brain, and, therefore, reduce the risk of dementia. Try reading, writing stories or playing cards or checkers. Or start a new hobby. Studies have found an association between frequent participation in intellectually stimulating activities and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.

* Stay connected with friends. Spending time with family and friends, volunteering or joining a group helps stimulate your memory, concentration and mental processing.

Mayo Clinic Health Letter is an eight-page monthly newsletter of reliable, accurate and practical information on today’s health and medical news. To subscribe, please call toll free 800-333-9037, extension 9PR1.

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