At Team Health Care Clinic, we work with people who have dementia or who are concerned and want to prevent it. I was quite interested when I found an article from a study showing decreased brain size, and therefore risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s, is related to four controllable lifestyle factors.
The study, from the Radiological Society of North America, involved over 1,600 people during the course of seven years. It measured brain size and its relationship to risk factors. Their conclusion was that decreased brain size and, therefore, dementia is related to these controllable factors.
Alzheimer’s Risk Factors
- Alcohol consumption
It turns out that alcohol consumption and diabetes were associated with smaller volume of the whole brain. Smoking and obesity were linked with decreased volume of the part of the brain associated with memory retrieval as well as emotional and social behavior.
Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s Disease makes up between 50%-70% of the cases, is a growing concern. As our population ages the incidence of dementia is continuing to grow. Deaths from dementia have doubled in the last 25 years and care costs are in the hundreds of billions. Also, there is no treatment for dementia. Prevention is the key.
The above list is not exhaustive and there are other causes for dementia. However, these are the biggest offenders and they are preventable! Dementia is a slow developing, chronic condition closely tied to lifestyle choices. This means that we have the time and the ability to make changes. The prescription never changes. Eat a low starch and low sugar diet, exercise, don’t smoke and drink only in moderation.
Our clinic does provide nutritional and brain health support for all of this. However, it’s up to you to do the work and help yourself.