How Rugby Players Can Prevent Dementia

How Rugby Players Can Prevent Dementia This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp. Dementia amongst rugby players is becoming a prevalent issue. Though many factors can be at […]

How Rugby Players Can Prevent Dementia

This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

Dementia amongst rugby players is becoming a prevalent issue. Though many factors can be at play, it seems that the very nature of the sport is the primary cause. Head injuries are common in rugby and seem to create all sorts of brain and head-related problems, including dementia.

But what is dementia, and what can rugby players do to avoid it? Read on to learn more about this condition, so you know how to recognize it and prevent it.

What Is Dementia?
Dementia is a general term that refers to the rapid decline in cognitive functioning. It impairs one’s ability to think, plan, remember, and perform basic tasks. Though the symptoms may appear minor at first, dementia will eventually affect the entire brain, making it difficult for affected people to function without the help of loved ones.

It’s important to understand that dementia is a general condition, not a disease. Many diseases can cause dementia, all resulting in similar cognitive symptoms. Some forms of dementia are preventable, while others aren’t. If you or your loved ones are showing signs of dementia, you should discuss the condition with a healthcare professional immediately to determine the cause.

How Rugby Players Develop Dementia
Though there are many forms of dementia, the kind that rugby players are most susceptible to is vascular dementia. Vascular dementia occurs when there is inadequate blood flow to the brain, which causes the cells to die. It is the second most common form of dementia and is most often caused by strokes, head injuries, and concussions.

While other forms of dementia commonly occur much later in life, vascular dementia can occur at any age. Since head injuries are a common cause, dementia can occur soon after the incident. This is why so many rugby players who are in their prime or are still fairly young develop dementia. Unfortunately, their injuries and concussions can quickly catch up to them, causing irreversible damage.

Though many symptoms of vascular dementia overlap with other types, it is still important to recognize its most common signs. Symptoms of vascular dementia include:

● Slow thoughts and movements
● Confusion
● Disorientation
● Difficulty completing basic tasks
● Problems with memory and recalls
● Symptoms of a stroke
● Poor balance

The primary difference between vascular dementia and other forms is that it has more overlapping symptoms with stroke patients. Many people with this dementia may suddenly struggle to speak or lose the feeling in part of their face. This is not typical of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia and can make vascular dementia more frightening and urgent. Please call emergency services right away if you or someone you know is experiencing stroke-like symptoms.

How To Prevent Dementia
Most forms of dementia are not easy to prevent. This is most especially true for dementia caused by Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or other diseases. In most cases, these diseases are not well understood or have a strong genetic influence and therefore are hard to treat and prevent.

However, vascular dementia is easier to prevent. The most effective form of prevention is to do what you can to prevent head injuries. Therefore, you should be more careful with your head when out on the field playing rugby or when partaking in other risky or extreme activities.

Furthermore, you should make sure to take care of your vascular health. Vascular dementia can also be caused or aggravated by hypertension, diabetes, and other conditions. Therefore, eating healthily, exercising properly, and treating these conditions may also prevent vascular dementia.

Final Thoughts On Dementia
It’s understandable if you are worried about developing dementia. It is a terrible condition that robs you of your memories and your ability to do even the most basic functions. It can be disheartening and frightening to witness fellow rugby players at their prime wither away from this condition. However, by caring for your brain and head and taking care of your physical health in general, you may be able to prevent forming vascular dementia yourself.

If you wish to learn more about dementia, you can find more resources and information at BetterHelp.

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