"Dementia" is a term used to describe a decline in mental ability that is so severe as to affect daily life, explains the Alzheimer's Association. It is important to recognize that Alzheimer's is a form of dementia but that not all dementia is Alzheimer's. There are several forms of dementia, with some of the more common ones being Huntington's Disease, Parkinson's Disease and Vascular Dementia.
Although symptoms of dementia vary from person to person, you should see a doctor if at least two of your core mental functions are impaired. Core mental functions are memory, communication and language, ability to focus and pay attention, reasoning and judgement, and visual perception.
Other early signs of dementia, as explained by The Alzheimer's Society of Ireland, are short-term memory loss, difficulty finding words, changes in mood or behavior, difficulty following conversations, problems managing money, trouble completing puzzles and loss of interest in hobbies.
The most important method of combating dementia is to promote one's brain health. Whether or not you exhibit early signs of dementia and regardless of your age, it is never too early to become proactive about your brain health.
Think about nourishing the brain the same way you do the rest of the body: with healthy nutrients. Everyday Health reports a Mediterranean diet focused on omega-3-rich fish, nuts, whole grains, olive oil and fresh produce is among the best brain health diets. Antioxidants in green tea, caffeine in coffee and curcumin in turmeric are also linked to improved memory and a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease.
A healthy body has long been linked to a healthy mind. According to Everyday Health, a massive nearly 40-year study tracking 19,000 people found that cardiovascular fitness is directly linked to risk of dementia. So put on your running shoes; it's time to exercise your way to a healthy brain.
Consider exercising outside as opposed to a gym. The vitamin D from the sun is thought to clear the brain of plaque buildup and thus prevent Alzheimer's disease. Sleep is yet another way in which the body naturally cleanses the brain of toxic plaque. Be sure to get eight hours of sleep each night, and don't fight drowsiness during the day. Embrace it. Take a nap.
Another excellent way to exercise the brain is to learn something new. Pick up a language or an instrument. Read often, play memorization games and do crossword puzzles. The maxim "If you don't use it, you lose it," is very much true for the brain. Challenge your brain every single day.
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