5 Healthy Habits to Reduce the Risk of Dementia

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/professorbop/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/professorbop/

Can four or five habits limit the risk of dementia for men?  A new study published in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed, scientific journal believes this may be the case. The study was conducted by researchers at Cardiff University and monitored the healthy behaviors of 2,235 men aged 45 to 59 from 1979 to 2004. The researchers identified five healthy behaviors that contributed to a 60 percent decline in dementia among the men, and a 70 percent fewer instances of heart attack and stroke. The decreases were seen when the men followed either four or five of the guidelines for a fully healthy lifestyle. However, the men who did adhere to four or five of the habits, only accounted for 6 percent of the sample.

Dementia is a group of symptoms that affect a person’s thinking and social abilities to the point where it interferes with their daily functions. It is not a specific disease, according to the Mayo Clinic, and multiple symptoms exist. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause, however there are other causes which are treatable and potentially reversible. Still, WebMD says the treatable forms of dementia occur about 20 percent of the time. An example is when hormone and/or vitamin deficiencies cause dementia by restoring either to the correct level, the symptoms can disappear. That leaves approximately 80 percent incurable, which makes taking steps to prevent dementia important. The following are the 5 habits — identified by the Cardiff researchers — that reduced the rate of dementia.

1. Low Alcohol Intake

The researchers did not define “healthy” alcohol intake as abstaining, but rather three or fewer units per day. In 1979, 59 percent of the men were able to say they adhered to this guideline. The possibility that low alcohol intake can contribute to a decline in dementia is important when participating in other activities that have been promoted as ways to reduce risk. Being socially active is one of the pillars the non-profit HelpGuide.org lists for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Prevention. ”Studies show that the more connected we are, the better we fare on tests of memory and cognition. Staying socially active may even protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, so make your social life a priority,” the group writes. Being social and not drinking in excess may potentially lower your risk.