Susan is living the active lifestyle she always knew she would after retirement. At 68, she’s now visited more than a dozen countries and has many more to go. On any given day, you might find her out on the lake, tackling a new hiking trail with the grandchildren, or volunteering at the local children’s hospital.

Seeing and doing new things is what Susan’s all about. But sometimes, Susan can’t help but worry about how dementia or cognitive decline could completely change her life.

Her mother displayed first signs of dementia when she was about Susan’s age. Over a 15 year period, Susan watched as the woman who had always cared for her and loved her unconditionally struggled with seemingly simple tasks. She forgets random things. At some point, she could only identify Susan on a good day.

Having seen what her mother went through, Susan has always tried to stay healthy, eating a balanced diet and exercising. But she isn’t sure that will be enough. Are there established ways to slow dementia or cognitive decline?

Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent cognitive decline. Here are only three.

1. Exercise Everyday

This one was already part of Susan’s day-to-day life. She does try to get the appropriate amount of exercise each day.

Many studies support the fact that individuals who do modest exercise consistently as they get older have a decreased risk for cognitive decline and dementia. They’ve also shown a positive effect on people who are already experiencing symptoms of cognitive decline.

Here are a number of reasons why scientists think regular exercise can ward off mental decline.

  1. Exercise slows the degeneration of the nervous system that typically occurs as we get older. The brain uses these nerves to communicate with the body, process memories, and think about how to do things. Exercise slows this deterioration so researchers think that it could also slow mental decline.
  2. Exercise may increase the production of neuroprotection factors. Your body has mechanisms that safeguard certain types of cells from damage. Scientists believe that an individual who exercises may produce more of these protectors.
  3. The risk of cardiovascular disease is lowered by exercising. Blood delivers nutrients and oxygen to cells in the brain. If cardiovascular disease blocks this blood flow, cells die. Exercise may be able to slow down dementia by keeping these vessels healthy.

2. Have Vision Concerns Treated

An 18-year study of 2000 people with cataracts, demonstrated that getting cataract surgery halved the rate of mental decline in the group who had them extracted.

While this study concentrated on one common cause for loss of eyesight, this study backs the fact that maintaining eyesight as you get older is important for your mental health.

People frequently begin to isolate themselves from friends and retreat from things they love when they lose their eyesight at an older age. Additional studies have explored links between social separation and advancing dementia.

If you have cataracts, don’t just disregard them. You’ll be safeguarding yourself against the development of dementia if you do what you can to maintain healthy vision.

3. Get Hearing Aids

You may be heading towards cognitive decline if you have untreated hearing loss. A hearing aid was given to 2000 participants by the same researchers that performed the cataract study. They tested the advancement of cognitive decline in the same manner.

The results were even more impressive. The group who received the hearing aids saw their dementia advancement rates decline by 75%. Put simply, whatever existing dementia they may have currently had was nearly completely stopped in its tracks.

This has some probable reasons.

The social element is the first thing. People will often go into seclusion when they have untreated hearing loss because socializing with friends at restaurants and clubs becomes a challenge.

Second, when somebody slowly begins to lose their hearing, the brain forgets how to hear. If the person waits years to get a hearing aid, this deterioration advances into other parts of the brain.

As a matter of fact, researchers have actually compared the brains of people with neglected hearing loss to people who wear hearing aids using an MRI. People who have untreated hearing loss actually experience shrinking of the brain.

That’s definitely not good for your memory and mental capabilities.

Ward off dementia by wearing your hearing aids if you have them. If you’re procrastinating on getting a hearing aid, even with hearing loss, it’s time to contact us for a hearing exam. Learn how you can hear better with modern technological advancements in hearing aids.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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