Tag: guards against dementia

Boost Your Cognition: Guards Against Dementia and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

Boost Your Cognition: Guards Against Dementia and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

methods to manage cognitive faculties
SSDA USA is here with methods to manage cognitive faculties.

Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases are incredibly difficult to deal with. The individual with the condition as well as their family and friends must make many life adjustments to cope with the illness. Fortunately, while there are no cures for such conditions as of yet, there are plenty of things that can help boost cognitive functioning. SSDA USA is here with some suggested methods to manage cognitive faculties.

Meditation

Meditation is proving itself to be one of the surest methods to manage cognitive faculties. While research on meditation is still in its infancy, some studies suggest that it has a positive impact on attention, memory, verbal fluency, and cognitive flexibility. These findings are supported by MRI scans that show increased cortical thickness, which is key to maintaining a healthy brain.

Additionally, other results show that meditation could lead to increased volume in the hippocampi, a key region of the brain dealing with learning and memory. Furthermore, there have been structural alterations observed in other areas of the brain dealing with attention and perception.

peaceful meditation

Meditation has other benefits, too. It reduces the body’s level of cortisol (a critical stress hormone), which in turn has the potential to lower levels of anxiety and depression. This allows meditators to have a greater amount of control over their emotional health. People who meditate regularly may also have improved cardiovascular systems, improved decision-making skills, and may be more resilient against pain.

Exercise

Even moderate amounts of physical activity are good for the brain. Exercising lowers inflammation and allows the brain to release growth factors that contribute to healthy brain cells and new connections between neurons. Physical activity also pumps additional oxygen to the brain, and proteins and feel-good hormones (such as dopamine) get released in the process. Moreover, stress-inducing hormones get flushed out during exercise, often leaving individuals happier than they were before.

Moderate exercise may also enhance immune system function when performed regularly. Furthermore, exercise can help regulate mood and mental/emotional health, maintain learning and decision-making faculties as individuals age, and can even improve sleep.

Dieting Right

assorted healthy foods

A healthy diet makes a healthy brain! Food rich in omega-3 fatty acids positively affects key synaptic connections involved with learning, memory, and general cognitive function. In fact, not having enough omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to some mental conditions such as depression.

Along with this, diets with high amounts of saturated fat can lead to the degradation of cognitive functioning in both humans and animals. It’s also important to get enough vitamins, minerals, and other proteins to ensure optimal cognitive preservation and function.

Staying away from too much sugar is also just one of many effective methods to manage cognitive faculties. In fact, maintaining a healthy diet lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, improves sleep and mood, and can help you stay energized throughout the day.

Kicking Bad Habits

Guilty pleasures such as alcohol and cigarettes, while possibly enjoyable in the moment, can lead to long-term health problems if done regularly. For example, cigarettes contain (among other harmful substances) nicotine, a powerfully addictive chemical that can cause cardiovascular problems, sleep disturbances, dizziness, heartburn, and many other negative conditions. Quitting smoking can result in a lowered risk of heart attack, lowered risk of certain cancers, reparation of damaged nerves, and an improved sense of well-being.

Alcohol, too, can damage the body. In fact, it can even lead to brain shrinkage. A plethora of conditions results from overconsumption of alcohol. Everything from hepatic encephalopathy to atrial fibrillation is on the table. There is no safe amount of alcohol for the body. Therefore, refraining from drinking alcohol will help maintain your body’s health.

Learning Another Language

This is one of the most effective methods to manage cognitive faculties. Learning another language keeps your mind sharp and your brain healthy. Additionally, people who know more than one language are more likely to have greater attention spans and greater amounts of concentration.

textbooks on many languages

Also, bilingual people that developed dementia were 4.5 years behind monolingual people. In other words, learning another language has the potential to possibly prevent or delay symptoms of some neurodegenerative diseases.

Playing Games

Some games have the potential to boost your cognition. Commercially available games such as Brain Age or Lumosity have the potential to enhance memory, attention, and other cognitive faculties. More specifically, games that train your processing speed have the highest likelihood of guarding against neurodegenerative diseases. Training your memory and reasoning skills is good, too, but keeping your brain’s processing speed up will ensure that your mind is quick and agile. Even some casual video games, too, could potentially boost cognitive function, despite all the flak they receive.

Getting Plenty of Sleep

A good night’s sleep can work wonders for your body and mind. To begin, sleep deprivation can cause problems with memory, attention, and learning capacities. Additionally, people that don’t get enough sleep can routinely become moody or difficult to deal with, in addition to having poor reaction times. With enough sleep deprivation, a person could even suffer from hallucinations!

woman sleeping blissfully

Lack of sleep can affect your body in other ways, too. For example, sleep deprivation can negatively impact your immune system and make you more prone to getting sick. But this is just the start.

Not sleeping enough can result in too much cortisol in the body, which will then break down collagen, a key ingredient in keeping your skin healthy. Therefore, people that don’t get enough sleep may end up feeling and looking worse than if they had a good night’s rest.

Socializing

Humans are social creatures, and even the most introverted person craves social interaction from time to time. The fact is that socializing has many benefits for your physical and mental well-being.

Social interaction can lead to increased self-esteem, reduced stress/anxiety, lowered risk of depression, and more. In fact, socializing is one of the best ways to manage cognitive faculties. There is mounting evidence suggesting that socializing can ward off dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. Though more research must be done, the results look promising.

Of course, there are plenty of other benefits that come with social interaction. Socializing may help with cardiovascular problems, immune system problems, and may even increase individuals’ lifespans. Socializing also acts as a support system and allows people to get through difficult life changes with less worry.

Engaging in Art and Music

man carving clay pottery

The visual and performing arts aren’t just for entertainment – they are practical methods to enhance cognitive functioning. For instance, producing art can lead to spatial improvement in cognitive faculties as well as enhanced functioning of the default mode network (DMN), regions of the brain that experience decreased activity with the onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Additionally, producing art can lead to psychological resilience against stress and other negative mental factors.

Music, too, is quite beneficial when it comes to cognition. Listening and playing music could potentially enhance listening skills, vocabulary, memory, self-control, and concentration. In addition to these benefits, learning an instrument can be an engaging leisure activity that also provides discipline. In fact, the very structure of the brain alters itself to optimize the reward system around playing music.

Performing Other Activities

There are plenty of other activities that can stimulate the brain! Reading, writing, gardening, working on hobbies, and other engaging activities will keep your mind in tip-top shape. Staying active and not leading a sedentary lifestyle can help keep your mind sharp, as well. Don’t limit yourself to the activities on this list!

Find other methods to manage cognitive faculties that you enjoy, and stick to them. You could take a nice walk outside, or perhaps clean up your home a bit. All the aids against cognitive decline can’t be listed here, so try new things that you enjoy doing.

Have Questions About Methods to Manage Cognitive Faculties?

While the above methods are certainly good for boosting cognition, you and your family may have questions regarding how to apply for social security disability benefits for your loved one with a neurodegenerative disease. If so, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA today! Also, check out the infographic below for quick reference on how to boost cognitive functioning.

Our advocates are always standing by to address all your social security disability application and appeal questions and concerns. You can contact us at any time by calling us at 602-952-3200. Alternatively, you can get in touch with us via an online form or by taking advantage of our LiveChat feature. Don’t keep your questions to yourself; contact an advocate today!

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.

Boost your cognition infographic