Unlocking the Secrets: 15 Early Signs of Dementia Before 65 and How to Safeguard Your Brain Health

Last Updated: 17 January 2024By

Dementia, a challenging brain disorder that disrupts memory, thinking, and decision-making abilities, can cast its shadow even before the age of 65. Often linked with Alzheimer’s disease, particularly prevalent in India, early-onset dementia poses unique challenges. In a recent breakthrough, researchers from the University of Exeter and Maastricht University, delving into data from over 350,000 participants under 65 in the UK, identified 15 key risk factors associated with the development of young-onset dementia.

Deciphering Early-Onset Dementia

Young-onset dementia occurs when individuals under the age of 65 experience memory loss and cognitive decline. While genetics play a role beyond our control, the study shed light on 15 modifiable risk factors, offering a fresh perspective on understanding and addressing the condition.

The identified risk factors include social isolation, lower formal education, lower socioeconomic status, carrying two copies of the APOE gene (linked to Alzheimer’s risk), vitamin D deficiency, hearing impairment, alcohol use disorder, abstaining from alcohol, depression, high C-reactive protein levels, lower handgrip strength (physical frailty), orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure), stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.

The Significance of the Study

Published in JAMA Neurology, this study is groundbreaking as it redefines our understanding of young-onset dementia risk factors. It not only identifies genetic predispositions but also emphasizes the modifiable aspects that can be addressed to mitigate the risks associated with this early form of dementia.


Strategies for Risk Mitigation

The journey toward safeguarding brain health involves adopting proactive lifestyle habits. Here are some key strategies:

  1. Physical Exercise: Engaging in daily physical activity offers broad benefits, including improved neurocognitive function, neurogenesis, vasculogenesis, and enhanced mood.
  2. Healthy Diet: Embracing a Mediterranean-based diet, rich in green leafy vegetables, olive oil, salmon, and blueberries, can provide neuroprotective factors.
  3. Cognitive, Mood, and Social Stimulation: Keeping the mind sharp involves activities like learning a new language, attending seminars, listening to music, or dancing. Stress reduction practices like mindfulness and yoga contribute to mood stimulation. Face-to-face interactions remain crucial for social stimulation, fostering quality connections.

While some risk factors may be beyond our control, the adoption of these lifestyle habits serves as a robust starting point in reducing the risk of young-onset dementia. The journey towards brain health is an ongoing process, marked by awareness, adaptability, and a commitment to holistic well-being.