Early symptoms of dementia explained in NHS video
“The part of your brain that controls that hand simply hasn’t been challenged,” said Dr Jandial. “Try using it and you will literally be building brain connections.”
Another factor that might help to lower your dementia risk is to boost your working memory.
Dr Jandial explained the working memory is “like a mental notepad” that performs numerous functions.
Examples he included were the working memory “keeps track of a conversation, remembers why you walked upstairs and helps you think through a problem”.
A great way to strengthen the working memory is to do mental arithmetic such as multiplying two-digit numbers, such as 18×21.
Dr Tom MacLaren, a consultant psychiatrist at specialist brain clinic Re:Cognition Health, pointed out the importance of seeking support if you feel lonely, he told Daily Mail.
Loneliness is a major risk factor for the development of depression and dementia.
By seeking support, you “might help stop cognitive damage before it becomes too severe”.
One way to reduce feelings of loneliness and depression is to own a pet, or to borrow one for a walk.
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On the topic of walking, neuroscientist Dr Jandial added that regular hourly walks in your local park can help to relieve stress, stimulate the mind, and lower blood pressure.
These helpful effects of walking can contribute to a lower risk of cognitive decline.
According to the Professor of neurology at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, London, Guy Leschziner, sleep is also paramount.
“There is also research to show consistent lack of sleep can lead to a build-up of beta-amyloid proteins, which have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease,” he said.
Thus, in theory, by getting a good night’s sleep, every night, you might be helping to protect your brain.
Ways to reduce dementia risk
- Challenge yourself
- Boost working memory
- Seek social support
- Own a pet
- Go for a walk
- A good night’s sleep.
The NHS says: “There’s good evidence that a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of developing dementia when you’re older.”
If you think you or a loved one has dementia, speak to a GP.
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