A recent University of Alberta study has shown a connection between walking speed and future risk of dementia in older adults. Researches found that gait speed, in addition to problems with memory and cognition, is an important indicator and potential risk factor towards dementia that should receive medical attention.
The study found that individuals who experienced this decline in walking pace combined with a decrease in cognitive function (known as ‘dual decliners’), had an approximate risk of 50% of a subsequent progression to dementia. Unlike cognitive issues, a decline in walking speed may be difficult to measure or identify by those around sufferers, especially considering that a decrease in walking speed and general mobility is somewhat inevitable in later age, so researchers suggest that a considerable decrease in mobility combined with a regression in cognitive ability be noted and reported to medical professionals.
It should also be noted that, as well as physical decline being an indicator towards dementia risk, that a subsequent decrease in physical activity may additionally increase dementia risk, so early intervention is crucial.
The key message from this research is to pay attention to the signs - keep an eye on not only your friends’ and families’ mental state, but also their physical condition.
As always, staying active is key to living the best life possible in the years ahead, and if you are concerned there might be a problem, don’t delay seeking advice and make sure to grab a copy of Brain Body Food.
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