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10 Daily Habits That Can Increase the Risk Of Dementia

By Andrew Alpin, 5 November 2022

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4 Lack of physical activity

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A big risk factor for developing dementia is not getting enough exercise. There could be more than one reason why exercise lowers the risk of dementia. More brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that helps nerve cells grow and protects them from damage, is made when you exercise. Exercise also improves blood flow and lowers inflammation all over the body, which are important for keeping your brain healthy. Exercise has also been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions that can lead to dementia. With this new information, it’s clear that there are many reasons to make exercise part of your daily routine.

Lack of physical activity

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5 Not interacting or socializing

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Social interaction is an important part of mental health. People who don’t socialize with others are more likely to get dementia. One belief is that interacting with others helps keep the mind active and interested. People who spend a lot of time with others are more likely to do mentally stimulating things like talking, solving problems, and playing card games. This stimulation keeps the brain active and can delay the onset of dementia. Stress can also be reduced by spending time with other people.

Researchers have found that having a lot of stress makes you more likely to get dementia. When interacting with other people, your body produces feel-good hormones, like oxytocin. These hormones make you feel less stressed and happier overall. In this way, being around other people can help protect the brain from the damage that long-term stress can cause.

Not interacting or socializing

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6 Not stimulating your brain

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It’s important to work out your mind as it is to work out your body. If you spend too much time on your couch, passively watching Netflix instead of actively using your brain, you may be more likely to get dementia. Heather Snyder, PhD, senior director of medical and scientific operations for the Alzheimer’s Association, says that research shows that keeping the brain busy seems to make it healthier and may build up its stores of brain cells and connections. Do a jigsaw, or crossword puzzle, or play games like chess or bridge that require strategic thinking to keep your brain active.

Not stimulating your brain

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7 Not getting enough sleep

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Studies show that sleep problems like insomnia and sleep apnea increase your chances of dementia. A study of almost 7,500 women, published in the journal Alzheimer’s & dementia, found that getting less than six hours of sleep a night raised the risk of dementia by 36%. You can lower your risk by sleeping at the same time every night and getting treatment for sleep disorders like sleep apnea. It’s also best not to work out or eat within two to three hours of bedtime since both can make it hard to fall asleep.

Not getting enough sleep

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