With the large Boomer generation starting to enter older age more and more people are becoming concerned with the issue of age related dementia and how to avoid it. The good news is that JAMA has confirmed dementia rates are dropping relative to age due to better treatment and prevention. However this does not mean that dementia has been eradicated, many people are still being diagnosed with it everyday. Luckily science has found one more preventative measure to help us avoid this fate, regular sauna use.
In a Finnish cohort study of 2,315 healthy middle aged men were observed over 20 years and there was a clear inverse relationship between sauna use and mental dementia as well as other ailments. The more men used the sauna the less likely they were to show signs of dementia over time.
123 diagnosed cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease were respectively recorded. In analysis adjusted for age, alcohol consumption, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, smoking status, Type 2 diabetes, previous myocardial infarction, resting heart rate and serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, compared with men with only 1 sauna bathing session per week, the HR for dementia was 0.78 (95% CI: 0.57-1.06) for 2-3 sauna bathing sessions per week and 0.34 (95% CI: 0.16-0.71) for 4-7 sauna bathing sessions per week. The corresponding HRs for Alzheimer’s disease were 0.80 (95% CI: 0.53-1.20) and 0.35 (95% CI: 0.14-0.90). Source
Some other suggested preventative actions include:
- Eating a balanced diet for instance the Mediterranean diet
- Exercising regularly
- Dealing with stress and depression
- Avoiding smoking
- Engaging in social stimulation/socially interacting with friends and family
- Adequate sleep
- Treating preventable conditions (i.e. high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, etc.)
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