While you can’t control all factors that contribute to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, such as genetics and age, there are many contributing factors that you can control.

An increase in physical activity is shown to decrease the probability of developing many types of dementia. Exercise promotes an increase of blood flow to vital organs including the heart and brain. At least 30 minutes of physical activity such as aerobics and brisk walking can help lower blood pressure. High blood pressure causes damage to blood vessels in the brain. Following the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) can also aid in lowering high blood pressure. Another advantage of exercise is weight control, which is a crucial instrument in preventing dementia. Being overweight can affect the way the body creates and destroys insulin that may cause brain inflammation.

Alcohol intake is a contributing factor in developing certain forms of dementia, specifically alcohol related dementia, which is one of the top five most common dementias diagnosed in elderly people. Excessive alcohol consumption also worsens psychiatric and intellectual symptoms of dementia. According to many professionals a person that regularly drinks more than one ounce a day should report that to their primary care provider. People with dementia should not drink at all.

It is also very important to continually challenge your mind. Sudoku and other puzzles books are great tools for keeping ones’ mind active. Learning new languages or taking art classes can helpful as well.

Keep in mind that preventative measures are continually emerging so be sure to discuss any lifestyle changes with your doctor.