Signs You’re Going to Die From Dementia
There is no cure for dementia … yet. Once you have it, you will eventually die from it — or complications related to it. This is especially terrifying to those who have watched people close to them die from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
Is there any way to know if you’re likely to die from dementia? There’s no test that can predict your fate. There are certain things, however, that may be increasing your risk — and you might not even know it. Here’s how to tell if you’re more likely to get dementia than others you know.
1. You don’t go to the doctor when you should
Even if going to the doctor isn’t your favorite thing, the older you get, the more important it is to make and show up to appointments anyway. A doctor can test if you’re showing signs of dementia and catch it early if you have it, which increases your chances of living longer with the disease.
Next: If you notice symptoms, but don’t do anything, that’s on you.
2. You’re ignoring early dementia warning signs
Dementia symptoms go far beyond forgetfulness. The more aware you are of the early warning signs of dementia, the better chance you have of qualifying for treatments that can help. If you have even a small suspicion that something isn’t right, talk with your doctor sooner rather than later.
Next: Having friends matters more than you think.
3. You don’t get out much
Don’t have much of a social life? Spending time with family and friends isn’t just good for your mental health. You’re chances of dying from dementia are much lower if you regularly interact with people within or outside of your home.
Next: Do you eat a lot of dessert? Beware.
4. You eat way too many unhealthy carbs
Too much processed sugar just isn’t good for your brain. Sweet treats, fried foods, and even too much cheese over time can cut your life short, both physically and cognitively. The foods you should be eating more of are much higher in protein, fiber, and essential nutrients.
Next: You should also be eating plenty of the following foods instead.
5. You’re not eating enough ‘brain-boosting’ foods
Did you know that if you fill your belly with more “brain-boosting” foods, you could significantly lower your dementia risk? Foods high in antioxidants, such as blueberries, and highly nutritious foods, such as whole grains, can improve brain function and keep your head healthy.
Next: Not familiar with this type of exercise? You should be, if you don’t want to die from dementia.
6. You’re not exercising your brain
Those pay-to-play brain training apps might not be the best brain-boosters — but there are things that can actually help. Everything from learning a new language to taking a cooking class can preserve your cognitive health and decrease your chances of developing dementia.
Next: You might dread doing this, but if you don’t, you’re putting your health at risk.
7. You don’t exercise your body
Exercise is hard. It’s time-consuming. You probably don’t really feel like doing it. But every week you avoid even an hour of physical activity, your risk of dying from dementia complications increases. It’s good for your heart. It’s good for your brain. And it feels really good once the actual workout is over for the day.
Next: You’re still allowed to enjoy one of the best parts about being an adult. Just don’t overdo it.
8. You enjoy alcohol a bit too much
Yes, technically, alcohol is good for you. In moderate amounts, that is. People who drink more than one or two servings of alcohol per night are more likely to die from dementia than those who stick to the recommended amount.
Next: You probably didn’t know this bad habit could ruin your brain.
9. You smoke tobacco
Smoking harms your heart, and a sick heart can lead to an even sicker brain (see page 13). Smoking tobacco increases your risk of dementia because it directly affects your heart’s ability to pump oxygen-rich blood to your brain.
Next: If you survive this dangerous situation, you could still face dementia shortly after.
10. You’ve had a stroke
If you’re at risk for having a stroke, you should consider taking steps to diminish that risk. Having a stroke can cause a variety of health problems (if it doesn’t kill you), including a type of dementia that develops when your brain loses access to oxygen.
Next: Finding support if you’re in poor mental health could help you live longer.
11. You’re depressed
Untreated depression might cause more health problems in your 50s and beyond than you ever thought possible. Some research suggests people over the age of 55 who have dealt with persistent depression symptoms may have a higher risk of dementia.
Next: Can’t get a handle on this health issue? Now’s a good time to change that.
12. You have diabetes
People living with Type 2 diabetes make insulin, but a lot of “sugar” stays in their blood too long. Over time, this can damage their organs, including the heart and brain. Some research suggests uncontrolled, long-term diabetes can increase your dementia risk.
Next: A serious health diagnosis like this could mean your cognitive health could get worse.
13. You have heart disease
The health of your heart actually can affect your brain. Doctors call it the “heart-head connection,” and believe the health of your heart has a major effect on the health of your brain. If you’re at risk for — or already have — heart disease, your risk for dementia also increases.
Next: Millions of people live with this condition, and have no idea it could lead to dementia.
14. You have high blood pressure
High blood pressure is one of the most influential heart disease risk factors. It also increases your vascular dementia risk. Vascular dementia is a specific dementia subtype with a strong link to heart disease and the conditions that often cause it.
Next: It’s possible to fix this problem, but many people don’t.
15. You have high cholesterol
Living with high cholesterol — and not doing everything you can to treat it — can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries. This makes it difficult for blood to travel to and from your heart, and increases your risk of stroke and heart disease. Both of these things significantly upgrade your chances of developing dementia.
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