With the news that good sleep, regular exercise and a little alcohol can help keep Alzheimer’s at bay, Michele O’Connor explores other surprising ways you could reduce your risk of the disease.
Check your blood pressure. Even slight hypertension in middle age doubles the risk of dementia, say scientists at University College London.
Enjoy a cup. Drinking tea cuts the risk of mental impairment in older people by 50 percent, a recent study found. It added that the benefits are not limited to a particular type of tea – as long as it is brewed from tea leaves.
Get your hearing tested. Even mild hearing loss raises the long-term risk of mental decline and dementia in people over 55, says a study published in medical journal The Lancet.
Limit social media. “Virtual” friendships on screens should not replace talking to real people. Studies show a lack of face-to-face interactions and contact is linked with faster cognitive decline and a shorter lifespan.
Have a seafood day. Those who eat the most fish are a fifth less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease compared with those who eat the least, a recent review of health studies found.
Don’t dine after 7 p.m. Leaving a 12-hour gap between dinner and breakfast triggers a process called autophagy, which clears out dead cells and is good for brain function, says nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville.
Have regular dental check-ups. Gum disease increases inflammation in the body, which is thought to cause dementia. It has been found to raise the rate of mental decline six-fold in early-stage Alzheimer’s, so see a dentist regularly and brush and floss thoroughly.
Beware certain heartburn medicines. Says Dr Glenville: “Medications that help to reduce acid reflux are now thought to increase the risk of developing dementia by 44 per cent because they increase the level of beta-amyloid in the brain.”
Have regular sex. A study of people aged 50-89 found those who were still sexually active had sharper mental function doing word and number puzzles.
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