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Published on: July 2, 2013
by Dr. Joseph I. Sirven for NBC Latino:
For those of us who have or have had a family member with dementia, we know the emotional toll it has on the entire family. With so much attention being placed on the recognizing the signs of Alzheimer’s disease, it is often forgotten that there are other forms of dementia which can cause as much physical and mental impairment as Alzheimer’s.
One of these dementias is called vascular cognitive impairment, otherwise known as vascular dementia or multi-infarct dementia. This dementia is caused by previous strokes. The condition is defined as problems with thinking, cognition and memory, with evidence of a clinical stroke or brain injury, which causes an interruption in blood flow to an area of the brain.
This condition is common and is the second leading cause of progressive and irreversible dementia. Because Latinos have high rates of stroke, preventing stroke may help to avoid this type of dementia.
According to the American Heart association and the American Stroke Association Guidelines, the following 6 tips should help to reduce your risk of developing vascular dementia.
1. Quit smoking – that’s a top priority. Smoking increases stroke risk, and stroke leads to this dementia.
2. Limit your alcohol intake. Always drink in moderation.
3. Control your weight, because in some cases it may help to avoid the onset of Type 2 diabetes as well as heart disease and other chronic conditions.
4. Increase your exercise. This is not only helpful in preventing stroke and vascular dementia but is useful in preventing Alzheimer’s.
5. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol, then lowering your blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol intake can do a world of good in preventing strokes and dementia.
Try the Mediterranean diet. A recent study report showed that Mediterranean diet may help to prevent brain disease. So, eat more fish, olive oils, nuts, or red wine–versus white wine and in moderation–as this will help to preserve brain function.
Latinos are at a greater risk for vascular dementia, so lifestyle changes that can reduce the chance of a stroke are key.
Picture: Getty Images
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