Written by Dr. Patrick Smith, Valley-Wide Medical Director – Arkansas Valley
Dementia is a group of brain disorders when a person’s mental or cognitive function declines. Dementia often happens to people as they get older. One of the most common causes is called Alzheimer Disease. People experience forgetfulness, thinking problems, confusion and decreased ability to perform daily activities. Research and studies have shown there are ways to reduce risks of cognitive decline and dementia by making healthy lifestyle changes younger in life.
Good night sleep – Not getting enough sleep can affect memory and thinking
Break a sweat – Perform regular cardiovascular exercise that raises the heart rate and increases blood flow. Physical activity reduces risk of cognitive decline
Use it or lose it – Thinking and challenging your mind help keep your brain functioning well. Play games, read books, have a hobby.
Stop Smoking – Tobacco is terrible for your brain and mental function
Eat right – eat a well-balanced diet that is higher in fruits and vegetables to help reduce cognitive decline
Hit the books – studies have shown that formal education can reduce the risk of cognitive decline – take a class on line or at local community college
Be social – Find ways to be a part of your local community or share activities with friends and family
Take care of your health – Other chronic diseases like obesity, hypertension, depression and diabetes can lead to worse memory and mental function—take care of all your medical problems.
Starting healthy lifestyles today can help improve your mental function and protect your brain. Speak with your medical provider about how to better manage these other conditions and protect your brain.
Dr. Patrick Smith is a physician in Family Medicine and Obstetrics at Valley-Wide La Junta Clinic. Dr. Smith is also the Regional Medical Director.