Susan always recognized that when she retired she would be living an active lifestyle. She travels a lot and at 68 she’s been to over 12 countries and is planning a lot more trips. On some days she can be found exploring a hiking trail with her grandchildren, on others she will be volunteering at a local hospital, and sometimes you will see her out enjoying the lake.
Doing and seeing new things is what Susan’s all about. But in the back of her mind, Susan is worried that cognitive decline or dementia could change all that.
Her mother exhibited first signs of dementia when she was around Susan’s age. Susan watched her mother, who she had always respected and loved, struggle more and more with daily tasks over a 15 year period. She forgets random things. There eventually came a time when she often couldn’t identify Susan anymore.
Susan has tried to eat a healthy diet and exercise so she could hopefully avoid what her mother went through. But she’s not certain that will be enough. Are there established ways to slow dementia or cognitive decline?
Thankfully, there are things you can do to avert cognitive decline. Three of them are listed here.
1. Get Exercise
Susan found out that she’s already on the right track. Every day she tries to get at least the recommended amount of exercise.
Individuals who do moderate exercise daily have a decreased risk of mental decline according to many studies. They’ve also had a positive effect on people who are already noticing symptoms of mental decline.
Here are several reasons why scientists think consistent exercise can stave off mental decline.
- Exercise slows the degeneration of the nervous system that ordinarily occurs as a person ages. The brain uses these nerves to communicate with the body, process memories, and consider how to do things. Exercise slows this breakdown so scientists think that it could also slow mental decline.
- Neuroprtection factors might be increased with exercise. There are mechanisms within your body that safeguard some cells from harm. Scientists think that a person who exercises might produce more of these protectors.
- Exercise decreases the danger of cardiovascular disease. Blood brings oxygen and nutrients to cells in the brain. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease stops this flow of blood. Exercise may be able to slow down dementia by keeping these vessels healthy.
2. Address Vision Problems
An 18-year study of 2000 individuals with cataracts, demonstrated that having cataract surgery halved the rate of cognitive decline in the group who had them extracted.
While this research concentrated on one common cause for loss of eyesight, this study backs the fact that maintaining eyesight as you age is important for your mental health.
People frequently begin to isolate themselves from friends and retreat from things they enjoy when they lose their eyesight at an older age. Additional studies have explored connections between social isolation and worsening dementia.
Getting cataracts treated is essential. If you can take steps to improve your vision, you’ll also be safeguarding yourself against the progression of dementia.
3. Get Hearing Aids
If you have neglected hearing loss, you might be on your way into cognitive decline. The same researchers in the cataract research gave 2000 different people who had hearing loss a hearing aid. They used the same methods to test for the advance of cognitive decline.
The results were even more impressive. Cognitive decline was reduced by 75% in the people who received hearing aids. Put simply, whatever existing dementia they may have currently had was nearly completely stopped in its tracks.
There are some likely reasons for this.
The social component is the first thing. Individuals who are dealing with untreated hearing loss tend to socially isolate themselves because they struggle to interact with their friends at social gatherings and events.
Also, a person slowly forgets how to hear when they start to lose their hearing. If the person waits years to get a hearing aid, this degeneration advances into other parts of the brain.
Researchers have, in fact, used an MRI to compare the brains of people with untreated hearing loss to those who use a hearing aid. People who have untreated hearing loss actually experience shrinking of the brain.
Obviously, your mental ability and memory are going to start to falter under these circumstances.
Ward 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 make an appointment with us. Find out about today’s technologically sophisticated designs that help you hear better.