Dementia is a term most commonly associated with the elderly, but there is evidence that the incidence of this disease is on the decline. The reasons for this decline are not yet clear; research is still being performed to better understand potential risk factors for this ailment, but existing research has allowed health care professionals to understand what causes it, as well as prospective ways to help reduce, and in some cases, treat symptoms.
Dementia is a general term for a wider array of symptoms. The basic idea is that certain aspects of cognitive functions become impaired to the point where these impairments interfere with daily aspects of life. The cause of these impairments is that cells in the brain become damaged, hindering whatever part of the brain those cells influenced. This damage can be caused by various factors, and while the damage done to the cells is irreversible, it is sometimes possible to treat the underlying causes of damage, thus stopping or slowing the worsening of symptoms. (For more detailed information, follow this link. http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp)
The occurrence of these symptoms in the elderly was once attributed to the idea that these symptoms were merely a part of the aging process. However, as the underlying cause of these symptoms is actually damaged brain cells, and there are many elder people who do not have these symptoms, as measurements show that the incidence of symptoms has decreased (follow this link to see for yourself. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2587084), it is fair to say that this was a misconception. It is the current view of health care professionals that, while age can be a risk factor, it is not the only one to consider, nor is it the sole predictor for the occurrence of symptoms.
Due to the variant nature of symptoms associated with this disease and the underlying causes of damage leading to symptoms, there are different types of dementia, and because there are different types, there are various ways to try to treat or prevent symptoms. The advice offered by healthcare professionals to decrease risks of developing certain symptoms is fairly similar to advice offered to anybody who wants to live a healthier lifestyle. Do not ingest alcohol or smoke; smoking and drinking alcohol can damage blood cells, and anything that can damage blood cells can damage brain cells. Try to get a good amount of exercise; this can increase oxygen levels and help maintain healthy blood circulation, both of which are good for the brain. Lastly, eat right; a heart healthy diet will help the heart to continue regulating blood circulation and oxygen levels, which is one of the most important aspects of a healthy brain.
The important thing to take away from all of this is that if people take the time and initiative to care for their brain, body, and mind, they will have those things much longer than they will if they don’t.