Risk Factors & Prevention

A nything that can increase a person’s risk of developing dementia is called a risk factor for dementia. Having any of the risk factors does not mean that a person will inescapably develop dementia. Similarly, avoiding risk factors does not guarantee that a person will never develop dementia. However, it does make it more probable.

Here is a list of risk factors that have been associated with higher risks of developing dementia:

  • Genes
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Low levels of formal education
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Problems with cholesterol
  • Obesity and lack of physical activity
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Depression
  • Head injuries

There are some factors that you cannot change, but some that you can. Therefore, the best prevention would be to modify the risks factors that are modifiable. It is believed that reducing these risks factor may increase your brain reserve. The brain reserve is the ability to tolerate more neuropathology (damage to the brain) without cognitive and functional decline. Therefore, people displaying this kind of brain reserve may prevent, delay or develop dementia more slowly than people that have less brain reserve.

Here are seven steps you can do to reduce your risks of developing dementia:

  • Take care of your cardiovascular health
  • Be physically active
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Follow a healthy diet by eating well-balanced meals and reducing processed food
  • Enjoy social activities
  • Mentally challenge your brain
  • Protect your head from injuries by wearing a helmet when you are involved in sporting activities

Risk Factors and Prevention are discussed in more details in the following Fact Sheet:

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