Susan is living the active lifestyle she always thought she would in retirement. She travels a lot and at 68 she’s been to more than 12 countries and is planning a lot more trips. On any given day, you might find her enjoying the lake, tackling a new hiking trail with the grandkids, or volunteering at the local children’s hospital.
Doing and seeing new things is what Susan’s all about. But sometimes, Susan can’t help but be concerned about how cognitive decline or dementia could totally change her life.
When Susan’s mother was about her age she began showing the first signs of cognitive decline. Susan watched her mother, who she had always respected and loved, struggle more and more with day-to-day tasks over a 15 year period. She’s becoming forgetful. Eventually, she could only identify Susan on a good day.
Having experienced what her mother went through, Susan has always attempted to stay healthy, eating a well-balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise. But she wonders, is she doing enough? Is there anything else she can do that’s been shown to delay cognitive decline and dementia?
Luckily, there are things you can do to avert cognitive decline. Here are only three.
1. Get Exercise
Susan discovered that she’s already on the right track. She does try to get the recommended amount of exercise each day.
Individuals who do moderate exercise every day have a decreased risk of cognitive decline according to many studies. These same studies show that people who are already coping with some form of cognitive decline also have a positive impact from regular exercise.
Here are several reasons why researchers believe consistent exercise can ward off cognitive decline.
- Exercise slows the deterioration of the nervous system that ordinarily happens as we get older. Without these nerves, the brain doesn’t understand how to process memories, communicate with the body, or consider how to do things. Researchers believe that because exercise slows this breakdown, it also slows cognitive decline.
- Neuroprtection factors might be enhanced with exercise. There are mechanisms in your body that protect some cells from harm. These protectors might be produced at a higher rate in people who get enough exercise.
- The danger of cardiovascular disease is reduced by exercising. Blood delivers nutrients and oxygen to cells in the brain. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease stops this flow of blood. Exercise may be able to slow down dementia by keeping these vessels healthy.
2. Have Vision Concerns Treated
The rate of mental decline was cut nearly in half in people who had their cataracts removed according to an 18-year study carried out on 2000 people.
Preserving healthy eyesight is important for mental health in general even though this study only focused on one prevalent cause of eyesight loss.
People frequently begin to isolate themselves from friends and retreat from things they enjoy when they lose their eyesight at an older age. The link between dementia and social isolation is the subject of other studies.
Having cataracts treated is crucial. You’ll be protecting yourself against the development of dementia if you do what’s necessary to maintain healthy vision.
3. Get Hearing Aids
You may be heading towards mental decline if you have untreated hearing loss. A hearing aid was given to 2000 people by the same researchers that performed the cataract research. They used the same techniques to test for the advance of mental decline.
They got even more remarkable results. The group who received the hearing aids saw their dementia advancement rates decline by 75%. In other words, whatever existing dementia they might have currently had was nearly completely stopped in its tracks.
This has some probable reasons.
First is the social element. People who are dealing with untreated hearing loss tend to socially isolate themselves because they struggle to interact with their friends at social gatherings and events.
Additionally, a person gradually forgets how to hear when they begin to lose their hearing. If the person waits years to get a hearing aid, this deterioration advances into other parts of the brain.
Researchers have, in fact, utilized an MRI to compare the brains of individuals with untreated hearing loss to people who use a hearing aid. The brain actually shrinks in people with untreated hearing loss.
That’s definitely not good for your memory and mental capabilities.
If you have hearing aids, wear them to stave off dementia. 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.