What Are Some of the Factors?
Among the factors that increase the risk of dementia, those that cannot be controlled, such as aging and genetics, account for 65% of the entire dementia population, while those that one is aware of and could improve, such as smoking and lack of exercise, account for 35%. Among the factors, “hearing” accounts for a high percentage of 9% and is clearly linked to a decline in cognitive function, as poor hearing hinders communication.
Other relevant factors are as follows.
Lifestyle habits such as lack of exercise and smoking
Research on the relationship between exercise and dementia goes back a long way, and it is known that the risk of dementia is higher in people who do not walk much or who do not have a habit of exercising compared with those who do. In addition to a lack of exercise, a history of smoking is also linked to lifestyle-related diseases, such as high blood pressure and stroke, and increases the risk of dementia.
Periodontal disease also causes various effects
Periodontal disease is usually thought of as a problem of only the mouth, but it has been gaining attention for its close relationship with dementia.
Periodontal disease affects blood vessels and the blood since it causes the gums to be always inflamed, and is linked to arteriosclerosis and diabetes, which increase the risk of dementia. In addition, loss of teeth limits the foods one can eat, disrupting nutritional balance and in turn causing muscles and bone to weaken and active mass to be lost. This is associated with a decline in volition and the onset of dementia.
Impact of the years of education, lack of intellectual activity
Research conducted in the United States showed that generations without a developed educational system had a higher probability of onset of dementia than more recent generations. This is thought to be due to the relationship between the number of years of education and the risk of dementia.
In addition, a decrease in opportunities for intellectual activity, such as challenging oneself to try new things and concentrating on and learning something, is linked to a decline in cognitive function.
Decrease in social interactions, such as meeting people
Interacting and conversing with people are activities that use a great deal of memory and speech functions. Making a single promise to meet someone actively uses the brain in various ways, such as thinking about plans, deciding on transportation, etc. Conversations that progress based on others’ reactions also stimulate the brain.
When these opportunities decrease, it becomes linked to a decline in cognitive function, characterized by difficulty in recalling words, remembering things, and becoming complacent.
Decline in mental health due to stress
When one is more stressed, it becomes easier to fall into depression, affecting mental, physical and cognitive functions. It has been reported that people who are prone to depression have a two to three times higher risk of dementia than those who do not. However, as dementia itself can cause depression, it is difficult to distinguish depression from dementia, and so discussions continue on which occurs first.