In America, more than 6 million people have Alzheimer’s disease. It is anticipated that this number will increase to around 13 million by 2050.
The numbers say you have a one in four chance of getting dementia at some point in your life. Knowing the causes and risk factors of dementia can help you protect yourself against it.
As we age, our bodies and brain change. Some changes are more noticeable than others but they can all affect our capacity to manage ourselves and our emotions.
This is called aging-associated cognitive decline. It can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, decrease your capacity to carry out day-to-day tasks, and lead to dementia.
Keep reading to learn more about dementia.
Early Signs and Symptoms of Dementia
They can include small changes in memory, mood, and behavior. For example, you may have trouble remembering a recent conversation or event. You may also become more withdrawn, irritable, or easily confused.
These dementia behaviors can be subtle at first, and they often happen gradually. As the disease progresses, the symptoms can become more severe. Dementia can eventually lead to a loss of the ability to communicate, take care of yourself, and think clearly.
Potential Causes of Dementia
Dementia is a brain disorder that results in a decline in cognitive function. Early onset and severe cases are the most debilitating, but, dementia disease can happen to anyone at any age. The most common potential causes of dementia are:
1. Alzheimer’s Disease
This is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of cases. It is a degenerative disease that slowly destroys the brain, causing a decline in memory, thinking, and language skills.
2. Vascular Dementia
This form of dementia causes damage to the brain’s blood vessels, which can lead to a decrease in oxygen and nutrients in the brain. This can cause a decline in thinking, reasoning, and memory skills.
3. Lewy Body Dementia
This form of dementia includes a build-up of Lewy bodies in the brain, which disrupts the normal function of the brain. This can cause changes in mood, behavior, and thinking.
4. Parkinson’s Disease
This progressive neurological disorder results from a loss of muscle control, which can lead to a decline in cognitive function.
Common Risk Factors of Dementia
As we age, our brains become less efficient and more susceptible to damage, which can lead to dementia. Also, if someone in your family has dementia, you may be more likely to develop the disease yourself. Lifestyle choices like smoking, heavy drinking, and not exercising can all lead to cognitive decline and dementia.
How to Reduce the Risks of Developing Dementia?
One of the most important things to reduce the risk factors of dementia is to stay physically active and to challenge your mind with new activities and social interactions. A healthy diet and keeping your cholesterol and blood pressure under control are also important. Certain nutrients are good for brain health, make sure you’re getting enough of these to help reduce your risks.
Take Care of Your Brain’s Health
Dementia is caused by a variety of damage to brain cells. This damage is most often related to a lack of blood flow to the brain, which can lead to cell death. Risk factors of dementia include old age, family history, head injury, and chronic health conditions.
If you are concerned about your memory or other cognitive abilities, talk to your doctor. Early diagnosis and intervention can make a big difference in managing the disease.
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