Some studies indicate that a largely vegetarian diet high in beta carotene and vitamins E and C may lower the risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease, but this is unproven. Nevertheless, eating a healthy diet that is low in saturated animal fat and avoiding smoking tobacco can reduce the risk for stroke and other cardiovascular disorders that may lead to dementia.

Lifestyle habits that can reduce the risk for head injury include:

  • Using seat belts
  • Wearing a helmet when riding bicycles and motorcycles
  • Wearing protective headgear when playing contact sports

Avoiding substance abuse and addiction can reduce the risk for dementia resulting from disease, vitamin deficiency, seizure, and head injury.

Safer sex practices can help prevent HIV and syphilis infection, reducing the risk for AIDS dementia complex and neurosyphilis dementia. The risk for dementia as a result of other metabolic or toxic conditions can be reduced by receiving prompt medical attention at the first sign of illness (e.g., fever, pain, swelling, heat, confusion, other impairment of cognitive function).

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Jan 2000

Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015