Susan always knew that when she retired she would be living an active lifestyle. At 68, she’s now been to more than a dozen countries and has many more on her list. On any given day, you may find her out on the lake, tackling a new hiking trail with the grandkids, or volunteering at the local soup kitchen.
Doing and seeing new things is what Susan’s all about. But sometimes, Susan can’t help but be concerned about how dementia or cognitive decline could really change her life.
Her mother exhibited first signs of dementia when she was about Susan’s age. Over a period of 15 years, Susan watched as the woman who had always taken care of her and loved her without condition struggled with seemingly simple tasks. She forgets random things. There finally came a time when she frequently couldn’t identify Susan anymore.
Having seen what her mother went through, Susan has always attempted to stay healthy, eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise. But she isn’t sure that will be enough. Is there anything else she can do that’s been shown to slow cognitive decline and dementia?
The good news is, it is possible to stave off cognitive decline by doing a few things. Three of them are listed here.
1. Exercise Regularly
This one was already part of Susan’s daily life. Each day she tries to get at least the suggested amount of exercise.
People who do moderate exercise every day have a decreased risk of mental decline according to many studies. These same studies show that people who are already dealing with some form of cognitive decline also have a positive impact from regular exercise.
Researchers think that exercise may ward off cognitive decline for numerous very important reasons.
- Exercise slows the deterioration of the nervous system that commonly happens as we get older. The brain needs these nerves to communicate with the body, process memories, and think about how to do things. Scientists think that because exercise slows this breakdown, it also slows mental decline.
- Neuroprtection factors may be enhanced with exercise. Your body has functions that safeguard certain types of cells from harm. These protectors might be created at a higher rate in people who get enough exercise.
- The danger of cardiovascular disease is reduced by exercising. Oxygen and nutrients are carried to the brain by blood. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease stops this flow of blood. By keeping the vessels and heart healthy, exercise might be able to delay dementia.
2. Have Vision Problems Treated
The rate of mental decline was cut almost in half in individuals who had their cataracts removed according to an 18-year study carried out on 2000 subjects.
Maintaining healthy eyesight is essential for cognitive health in general even though this study only concentrated on one prevalent cause of eyesight loss.
People often begin to isolate themselves from friends and retreat from things they love when they lose their eyesight at an older age. The link between cognitive decline and social isolation is the focus of other studies.
Having cataracts treated is essential. If you can take measures to sharpen your vision, you’ll also be protecting yourself against the advancement of dementia.
3. Get Hearing Aids
If you have neglected hearing loss, you could be on your way into mental decline. A hearing aid was given to 2000 people by the same researchers that conducted the cataract study. They used the same techniques to test for the advance of cognitive decline.
They got even more impressive results. Cognitive decline was decreased by 75% in the people who were given hearing aids. So the dementia symptoms they were already experiencing simply stopped.
This has some probable reasons.
First is the social element. People tend to go into seclusion when they have untreated hearing loss because socializing with friends at restaurants and clubs becomes a struggle.
Second, when a person gradually begins to lose their hearing, the brain forgets how to hear. The degeneration gradually impacts other parts of the brain the longer the person waits to get their hearing aids.
As a matter of fact, researchers have actually compared the brains of people with untreated hearing loss to people who wear hearing aids using an MRI. The brain actually shrinks in individuals with neglected hearing loss.
Clearly, your mental ability and memory are going to begin to slip under these conditions.
Stave off dementia by wearing your hearing aids if you have them. If you have hearing loss and are reluctant to get hearing aids, it’s time to schedule a visit with us. Find out how you can hear better with modern technological advancements in hearing aids.