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How to ward off dementia: The drink which may decrease the risk by 65% in late-life

Dr Zoe says walking can reduce risk of dementia

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Dementia is a general term used to describe a group of symptoms, with Alzheimer’s disease being one of the most common causes of a progressive dementia in older adults. The Mayo Clinic explains: “Dementia is caused by damage to or loss of nerve cells and their connections in the brain. Depending on the area of the brain that’s damaged, dementia can affect people differently and cause different symptoms.”

If you are looking at ways to reduce your risk, one simple tweak might be made in your diet.

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease notes dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are “rapidly increasing public health problems in ageing populations”.

It examines findings from the longitudinal epidemiological studies about caffeine and dementia and cognitive functioning.

It notes: “The findings of the previous studies are somewhat inconsistent, but most studies (three out of five) support coffee’s favourable effects against cognitive decline, dementia or AD.”

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It adds that two studies had combined coffee and tea drinking and indicated some positive effects on cognitive functioning.

Results from the Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Ageing and Dementia (CAIDE) study suggest coffee drinking of three to five cups per day at midlife “was associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD by about 65 percent at late-life”.

The study says: “In conclusion, coffee drinking may be associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD.”

It suggests this finding might open possibilities for prevention or postponing the onset of dementia or AD.

There are also a number of other dietary insights researchers have found. Indeed, the Mayo Clinic says: “A diet such as the Mediterranean diet — rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids, which are commonly found in certain fish and nuts — might promote health and lower your risk of developing dementia.

“This type of diet also improves cardiovascular health, which may help lower dementia risk.”

The Alzheimer’s Society explains: “The best way to reduce your risk of dementia is to adapt various aspects of your lifestyle, including eating certain foods, taking regular exercise, not smoking, and maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”

Indeed, the charity says for most people, following the Mediterranean diet is a good way to ensure a healthy diet, which may be important for maintaining good brain function.

If you are concerned about having dementia symptoms it is recommended that you do not delay in going to your GP.

The NHS says: “If dementia is found early, its progress can be slowed down in some cases, so the person may be able to maintain their mental function for longer.”

Although dementia is not only about memory loss, that is one of the main signs The health body explains some of the other signs of dementia include:

  • Increasing difficulty with tasks and activities that require concentration and planning
  • Changes in personality and mood
  • Periods of mental confusion
  • Difficulty finding the right words or not being able to understand conversations as easily

The NHS says: “If possible, someone who knows you well should be with you at your GP appointment, so they can describe any changes or problems they’ve noticed.

“They could also help you remember what was said at the appointment, if this is difficult for you.”

It notes dementia can be difficult to diagnose, especially if your symptoms are mild.

“If the GP has been able to rule out other causes for your symptoms, they’ll refer you to a healthcare professional who specialises in diagnosing dementia,” the health body says.

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