Love smoking? It might put you at the risk of dementia

“Smoking is injurious to health” 

Well, we all know that and smoking is majorly related to lung and heart health. But, a recent study revealed its correlation with increased risk of dementia. According to this study performed on 46,000 men aged 60 or above, people who never smoked or who left smoking at least four years back were 19% less likely to develop dementia in the later stage of their lives. So, smoking has been found to affect the brain health and memory negatively.

How smoking affects the brain?  

Heart health and brain health are interrelated. It is heart which pumps blood to all the body parts and brain uses approximately 20 to 25% of this blood. Smoking which is thought to affect our heart indirectly affects our brain as well.

Smoking tightens the blood vessels making them more constricted. This restricts blood flow to the brain depriving it of all the essential oxygen it needs to function normally. Smoking leads to thinning of the outer layer of the brain known as cortex where critical cognitive functions like memory takes place. Cortex is also called Gray matter of the brain. A thinner brain cortex is associated with adult cognitive decline leading to dementia and other similar condition in the old age. The risk of blood clots in the brain also increases due to smoking which can further result in strokes. It gives rise to a specific type of dementia known as “Vascular Dementia”. The reactive compounds present in smoke causes oxidative stress in the brain which damages the brain tissues leading to poor memory and cognitive abilities.

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Quit smoking and bring healthy lifestyle changes 

Dementia requires many efforts, quitting smoking being one of them. Refraining from smoking can reduce the potential risk of developing dementia later is life and people with a similar family history should definitely consider this step.

If you don’t smoke, it's good. If you smoke, try to cut down the intake gradually. Engage yourself in a healthy lifestyle and get physically and mentally active. Eat nutritious diet, sleep adequately, and socialize with people. Engage yourself in learning new things. Join a hobby class or get ideas from others as what to do. 

Are you unable to quit smoking?

It is difficult for many to cut down on smoke. People who had been smoking for years get addicted to it and a daily decision of quitting it fails daily. In such a case, seek help by talking to an addiction therapist who might suggest counselling sessions and other medicines. Join support groups where like of yours would share their tips and support you in your decision. There are medicines which can curb the nicotine cravings in you which should be taken only after a valid prescription. So, consult your nearest doctor and get rid of smoking to take your first step towards prevention of dementia.