Excess sodium may increase dementia risk

Kevin Magna

September 1, 2011

Researchers who analyzed data from The National Longitudinal Study on Nutrition and Successful Aging have discovered that a high amount of sodium in a person's diet could actually lead to an increased risk of dementia, according to FirstCoastNews.com.

The primary reason for this effect seems to be the damage that salt can inflict on blood vessels, because it can eventually lead to cognitive impairment. While reducing salt intake can be extremely helpful in lowering this risk, so can physical activity. In fact, the team discovered that staying fit can negate the impact of salt.

"People who were physically active were protected, regardless of their sodium intake," said study author Carol Greenwood, the news source reports. "What's important is maintaining the integrity of the cardiovascular system, and the benefits of exercise are going to outweigh any negative effects we see with salt."

Additionally, staying physically active can help prevent falls in the future. Seniors who are looking to protect themselves from these events and remain independent as long as possible may want to consider installing a medical alert system as well, because these devices can be used to instantly contact emergency services.