COGNITIVE DECLINE AND DEMENTIA
RISK FACTORS that INCREASE
• Smoking: a further incentive to stop!
• Obesity in midlife, although at least one study found that being underweight in midlife also elevated the risk.
• High blood pressure in midlife, also a major risk factor for stroke.
• Diabetes: probably due to elevated blood glucose levels damaging the brain. If you have diabetes, good management of blood glucose levels is key.
• Traumatic brain injury: this isn’t always a modifiable risk factor, but shows we must do all we can to prevent brain injury, eg, wearing helmets cycling or during snow sports. Boxers, rugby players and those playing contact sports are at particular risk.
• A history of depression. Dietary strategies in this book can help with depression, too.
• Prolonged sleep problems such as insomnia and sleep apnea.