Risk of dementia can be reduced with early efforts

Dr. Douglas Preston

Dementia is a progressive decline in mental function, including memory and cognition, that impacts a person’s daily living, caused by degeneration of the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is one form of dementia well known to the public and impacts about 10% of the population over 65 years of age. An additional 20% of people over 65 years of age have some mild cognitive impairment. In these cases, the effects of the loss of memory and thinking ability are less severe but can sometimes indicate a higher risk for developing dementia later in life. This means, in a group of 10 people over 65 years of age, three of them are probably experiencing some difficulty in their cognitive abilities.

Though we understand how dementia changes the brain’s function, researchers are still working hard to develop treatments that might help improve daily symptoms. In the meantime, it is important to focus on the many lifestyle habits that can help decrease the likelihood of dementia and other memory disorders later in life.

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