Number of Dementia Patients
to Triple in Coming Years
World governments are struggling to care for the 44 million patients living with dementia, never mind the toll this situation takes on individual families. In the coming years, this problem is expected to get much, much worse.
A recent report released by Alzheimer’s Disease International projects that the number of people suffering from dementia will rise to 135 million worldwide by the year 2050.
The cost of dementia care drains $600 billion from the world economy every year – that’s 1 percent of the global gross domestic product! And that number will continue to go up as the number of dementia cases rise.
Governments are scrambling to find the resources to address the growing dementia epidemic. In fact, a G8 special summit was held just last month on this very topic.
You could wait for the government to find ways to address dementia, or you could start taking steps now to protect your cognitive function your whole life through.
Five Things to Avoid
if You Want to Stay Sharp
Right now, governments and pharmaceutical corporations are focused on developing new treatments for dementia, but not much time or attention is being giving to better understanding the causes of this devastating disease and to educating people about how to prevent it in the first place.
Fortunately, we do know some of the factors that contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. These same things can also cause a more general loss of cognitive function.
Researchers have identified five major factors that increase dementia risk. These are things you should avoid.
Smoking: No surprise here. Smoking is bad for your heart and it’s bad for your brain, too. In studies, scientists have found that active smokers are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, or cognitive decline. The good news is that people who quit smoking did not show the same increased risk, which means if you quit now, you’ll help protect yourself from dementia later.
Low Activity: Regular physical activity also helps keep your brain in shape. People who are active have healthier brains, sharper memories, and lower dementia risks than people who are mostly inactive. If you’re a couch potato, it’s time to get moving. You don’t have to move mountains. Start by just going for a walk and make that a daily habit.
Obesity: Being highly overweight takes a toll on your brain and contributes to your risk of dementia. Losing weight isn’t easy, but it is worth it. If this is an area where you struggle, make sure to sit down and talk to your doctor. Together, work out a plan that will help you start to lose weight.
High Blood Pressure: Another major contributor to dementia risk is high blood pressure. Take steps to lower your blood pressure. Exercise, a diet high in fiber, daily meditation, and hawthorn berry extract can all help you naturally bring your blood pressure under control.
Diabetes: If you are at risk of diabetes or if you have already have diabetes, then you are at higher risk of developing dementia. Learning to control your blood sugar and insulin levels through diet and exercise can help to protect your mind.
Taking the Fight to Dementia
You might be surprised to learn that diet can play a key role in protecting you from developing dementia. Don’t worry… you don’t have to eat anything weird. The best thing you can do is make the switch from processed foods to whole, natural foods. A great way to do that is by taking a Mediterranean approach. I’ve written before about the Mediterranean diet and its success in lowering heart disease risks. It turns out that it can also protect your brain.
In Britain, doctors are recommending this diet be at the forefront of the public health push against dementia, citing nine different studies that show the diet lowers cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s risks.
In particular, you’ll want to increase the level of omega-3 essential fatty acids in your diet. You can do this by eating more fatty fish and more nuts, both part of the Mediterranean approach. Taking a cod liver oil supplement or a fish oil supplement will also give you an omega-3 boost.
Finally, you can go beyond diet and exercise to protect your brain. Build your social network – I’m not talking about online. Get together with friends and family … go out and meet new people … volunteer. Evidence shows that people with an active social life and strong interpersonal relationships have a lower chance of suffering from dementia. So, enjoy yourself!