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Dementia, cvd and Exercise

When we talk about dementia, we think mostly of Alzheimer’s disease. However there are other causes of dementia, also common is vascular dementia. Before I go further, it’s good we understand what we mean by dementia. By definition it means loss of previously acquired intellectual
capabilities, to the extent that it affects our day to day life. It manifest mostly as memory loss, but it can also result in abnormal behaviour or change in mood. Vascular dementia results from damage to blood vessels in the brain. This can be obvious, in cases of
repeated strokes or it can occur from subtle changes in blood vessels due to cardiovascular risk
factors such as long standing uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, hypertension and high cholesterol. In
other words, this form of dementia is preventable if we take care of our cardiovascular health.
Exercise plays a major part in preventing cardiovascular disease.
Recent studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s
disease in those who are genetically predisposed, and that people older than 60 years who exercise
regularly have better cognitive function than those who do not exercise. So in effect regular aerobic
exercise is a major step in preventing dementia and cardiovascular disease.
Aerobic exercise include physical activities such as brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, dancing
etc. These activities should be carried out on a regular basis, which is a minimum of 5 times a week.
Each session of exercise should last 30 minutes or more, and within one’s energy level.

About Dr Okocha

Consultant Cardiologist with interest in preventive cardiology

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