You cannot predict if you will get dementia but there are some predictive factors—and scientist think they have found a new one.
“People who have dementia might experience greater levels of pain 16 years before getting diagnosed, according to new research,” says the National Institute on Aging.
“The study is the first to look at the link between dementia and pain over an extended time period.” Read on to see which pain they are referring to.
1 — Pain As A Symptom of Dementia
“Dementia and chronic pain both lead to changes to your brain and can affect your brain health,” says the NIA. “Although many dementia patients also have chronic pain, it is not clear whether this chronic pain causes or hastens dementia, or is a symptom of the dementia itself.”
The new study examined the connection between getting dementia and pain in studies going back 27 years.
Some “connections were obvious for a follow-up of 6.2 years. These links were stronger when the mean follow-up time for dementia was 3.2 years,” report the authors. “These findings suggest that pain is a correlate or a symptom instead of a cause of dementia.”
2 — The Heart-Brain Connection
There have been other connections made between health issues and dementia. “Several issues known to increase the risk of heart disease — like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes — also increase the risks of getting Alzheimer’s,” said the Alzheimer’s Association.
“Some studies reveal that as many as 80% of people with Alzheimer’s also have heart disease…. Routine exercise might be a beneficial way to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s. Exercise might directly help your brain cells by increasing the blood flow into your brain.”
3 — How To Lower Your Dementia Risk By 45%
Exercise can lower your risk—as can any kind of movement, including household chores. “Several studies have looked at middle-aged Americans and the effects of exercise on their memory and thinking later in life,” says the Alzheimer’s Society. “Combining the results of up to 11 studies proves that routine exercise can greatly lower the risk of getting dementia by around 30 per cent.”
For Alzheimer’s, the risk was lowered by 45 per cent. You can do simply aerobic exercise for around 30 minutes each day. “However, exercise does not just mean doing a sport or only running. It can also mean something as simple as brisk walking or cleaning. One study discovered that Alzheimer’s risk was lowered by daily tasks like cooking or laundry.”
Author: Blake Ambrose