June 06, 2020 08:23
Happy thoughts and a healthy lifestyle are key to preventing or slowing the onset of dementia, doctors say.
Some 1.66 million Koreans over 65 suffer from at least mild cognitive impairment, and the number keeps growing.
Kongju National University in a report based on 2017 government data said elderly people score higher in cognitive tests if they exercise, do not smoke and drink less alcohol.
Elderly people who consider themselves healthy, are satisfied with their life and did not suffer any injuries tended to score higher. The report said exercise is a "notable factor" since "physical functions have a close correlation with cognitive functions."
It added that senior citizens need to engage in physical activities, preferably with friends and neighbors.
Lee Dong-young, a psychiatrist at Seoul National University Hospital, said, "People who consider themselves healthy or are satisfied with their lives secrete fewer stress hormones and are less prone to depression."
He added that injuries from falling cause brain hemorrhages and limit mobility, so they also have a negative effect on cognitive functions.
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