What Is Known About Reducing Your Risk Of Alzheimers Disease
The science on risk reduction is quickly evolving, and major breakthroughs are within reach. For example, there is growing evidence that people who adopt healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercise and blood pressure management can lower their risk of dementia. There is growing scientific evidence that healthy behaviors, which have been shown to prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, may also reduce risk for subjective cognitive decline. To learn more about the current state of evidence on dementia risk factors and the implications for public health, please read the following summaries on Cardiovascular Health, Exercise, Diabetes and Obesity, Traumatic Brain Injury , Tobacco and Alcohol, Diet and Nutrition, Sleep, Sensory Impairment, and Social Engagement or the Compiled Report .
What Is Alzheimers Disease
Though Alzheimers disease does become more prevalent as people age, its not a typical aspect of aging. However, some genetic factors and lifestyle aspects increase the likelihood of developing it. But, having certain genes does not indicate that you will get Alzheimers disease.
Alzheimers disease is a progressive brain ailment that gradually impairs memory and cognitive abilities. It may also affect a persons capacity to do even the most basic activities, like speaking and communicating. Other than that, the majority of patients with the condition develop symptoms in their mid-60s.
You may think that Alzheimers disease is just memory loss, however, its not as simple as that. But, memory issues are often one of the earliest indications of Alzheimers disease. Initial symptoms also vary by individual. Alzheimers may also be characterized by a decline in other areas of cognition, such as difficulty finding the proper words, visual/spatial difficulties, and poor reasoning or perception.
Manage Your Stress Maybe
High-stress environments can lead to bad habits that correlate with poor brain health.
Although there isnt yet a cure for Alzheimers, other medical illnesses or even depression can bring about memory and concentration problems, Aranda said.
High stress, she said, encourages behaviors that increase the risk of dementia: decreased physical activity, poor eating habits, increased social isolation and self-medication through alcohol or drugs. These factors play a role in the risk of memory disturbances.
Meanwhile, too much stress and anxiety may lead to changes in the brain. For example, high levels of anxiety and chronic stress can usher changes to parts of the brain that handle emotion, thinking and memory: the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. The hippocampus is one of the first places Alzheimers attacks.
But making a direct link between stress and dementia would be premature, Aranda said. Other factors may also be involved.
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How To Prevent Alzheimers And Dementia
While inflammation is a significant risk factor for Alzheimers disease, there are steps you can take to help minimize your risk. We may adopt lifestyle modifications to help minimize inflammation. Our goal is that by reducing inflammation, we can decrease the risk of developing Alzheimers disease.
The following are some methods that may aid in the prevention of Alzheimers disease and Dementia.
Think about what you eat. Is your diet full of junk? We cannot stress this enough: the standard American diet, or S.A.D., is sad. It may also cause inflammation in the brain. So, stop eating junk food since it is causing you to gain weight and harming your stomach it is also damaging your brain.
Moreover, no single substance, vitamin, or food can significantly enhance brain health on its own. Rather than that, it is the consumption of various items in the appropriate amounts that makes a huge difference. This is referred to as a balanced diet.
Some of our dietary habits are especially beneficial in helping prevent Dementia. So, its important to mind what we eat. But, what kind of dietary habits are we talking about here?
Its also important to have healthy fat in your diet. Fat is critical for brain health since 70% of our diet is fat. However, not all fats are healthy. So, get good fats like omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. The Docosahexaenoic acid present in these good fats has been shown to help prevent Alzheimers and Dementia by decreasing plaques.
Pillar #: Quality Sleep
There are a number of links between poor sleep patterns and the development of Alzheimers and dementia. Some studies have emphasized the importance of quality sleep for flushing out toxins in the brain. Others have linked poor sleep to higher levels of beta-amyloid in the brain, a sticky protein that can further disrupt the deep sleep necessary for memory formation.
If nightly sleep deprivation is slowing your thinking and or affecting your mood, you may be at greater risk of developing or deteriorating symptoms of Alzheimers disease. To help improve your sleep:
Establish a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time reinforces your natural circadian rhythms. Your brains clock responds to regularity.
Set the mood. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex, and ban television and computers from the bedroom .
Create a relaxing bedtime ritual. Take a hot bath, do some light stretches, listen to relaxing music, or dim the lights. As it becomes habit, your nightly ritual will send a powerful signal to your brain that its time for deep restorative sleep.
Quiet your inner chatter. When stress, anxiety, or worrying keeps you awake, get out of bed. Try reading or relaxing in another room for twenty minutes then hop back in.
Pillar #: Regular Exercise
According to the Alzheimers Research and Prevention Foundation, regular physical exercise can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimers disease by up to 50 percent. Whats more, exercise can also slow further deterioration in those who have already started to develop cognitive problems. Exercise protects against Alzheimers and other types of dementia by stimulating the brains ability to maintain old connections as well as make new ones.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. The ideal plan involves a combination of cardio exercise and strength training. Good activities for beginners include walking and swimming.
Build muscle to pump up your brain. Moderate levels of weight and resistance training not only increase muscle mass, they help you maintain brain health. For those over 65, adding 2-3 strength sessions to your weekly routine may cut your risk of Alzheimers in half.
Include balance and coordination exercises. Head injuries from falls are an increasing risk as you age, which in turn increase your risk for Alzheimers disease and dementia. As well as protecting your head when you exercise , balance and coordination exercises can help you stay agile and avoid spills. Try yoga, Tai Chi, or exercises using balance balls.
What Do We Know About Reducing Risk For Dementia
The number of older Americans is rising, so the number of people with dementia is predicted to increase. However, some studies have shown that incidence rates of dementia meaning new cases in a population over a certain period of time have decreased in some locations, including in the United States. Based on observational studies, factors such as healthy lifestyle behaviors and higher levels of education may be contributing to such a decline. But the cause and effect is uncertain, and such factors need to be tested in a clinical trial to prove whether they can prevent dementia.
A review of published research evaluated the evidence from clinical trials on behavior and lifestyle changes to prevent or delay Alzheimers or age-related cognitive decline. The review found encouraging but inconclusive evidence for three types of behavioral changes : physical activity, blood pressure control, and cognitive training. The findings mean that interventions in these areas are promising enough that researchers should keep studying them to learn more. Researchers continue to explore these and other interventions to determine whether and in what amounts or forms they might prevent dementia.
Watch a video below that highlights conclusions and recommendations from the research review.
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What Is The Mind Diet
Participants diets were rated on how closely they resembled the MIND diet , which is made up of leafy green vegetables, beans, olive oil, nuts and poultry, while avoiding red meat, sweets and fried foods, the studys presenting author, Dr. Klodian Dhana, told NBC News. People with diets in the upper 40% got a point for what they were consuming, while others got zeroes.
During the approximately six years of follow-up, 608 participants developed Alzheimers dementia. When the researchers analyzed their data they found the risk of Alzheimers was 37% lower in people who practiced two to three healthy lifestyle behaviors and 60% lower in those who practiced four to five of those behaviors compared to those with scores of zero or one.
Can Alzheimer’s Disease Be Prevented
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain condition that impacts memory, thinking, and behavior. It is a progressive and irreversible form of dementia that is the fifth leading cause of death for adults over 65. There is also no cure for the condition, which is why people often wonder if there is any way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
So far, research has not found a definitive way to prevent or even delay the disease. Researchers have, however, uncovered a few different strategies that hold promise in the prevention of the condition, although more studies are needed to learn more.
This article explores whether Alzheimer’s can be prevented, including some of the factors that researchers believe impact the onset of the condition.
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Pillar #: Vascular Health
Theres more and more evidence to indicate that whats good for your heart is also good for your brain. Maintaining your cardiovascular health can be crucial in protecting your brain and lowering your risk for different types of dementia, including Alzheimers disease and vascular dementia. And of course, addressing heart-health issues can also help you to lower your risk for a future heart attack or stroke.
What Can You Do
Although there is no effective treatment or proven prevention for Alzheimers and related dementias, in general, leading a healthy lifestyle may help address risk factors that have been associated with these diseases.
Researchers cannot say for certain whether making the above lifestyle changes will protect against dementia, but these changes are good for your health and are all part of making healthy choices as you age.
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Pillar #: Social Engagement
Human beings are highly social creatures. We dont thrive in isolation, and neither do our brains. Staying socially engaged may even protect against symptoms of Alzheimers disease and dementia in later life, so make developing and maintaining a strong network of friends a priority.
You dont need to be a social butterfly or the life of the party, but you do need to regularly connect face-to-face with someone who cares about you and makes you feel heard. While many of us become more isolated as we get older, its never too late to meet others and develop new friendships:
- Join a club or social group.
- Visit your local community center or senior center.
- Take group classes .
- Get to know your neighbors.
- Make a weekly date with friends.
- Get out .
Support For Family And Friends
Currently, many people living with Alzheimers disease are cared for at home by family members. Caregiving can have positive aspects for the caregiver as well as the person being cared for. It may bring personal fulfillment to the caregiver, such as satisfaction from helping a family member or friend, and lead to the development of new skills and improved family relationships.
Although most people willingly provide care to their loved ones and friends, caring for a person with Alzheimers disease at home can be a difficult task and may become overwhelming at times. Each day brings new challenges as the caregiver copes with changing levels of ability and new patterns of behavior. As the disease gets worse, people living with Alzheimers disease often need more intensive care.
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Be Cautious About Alzheimer’s Cures
Because Alzheimer’s disease is so devastating, some people are tempted by untried or unproven “cures.” Check with your doctor before trying pills or any other treatment or supplement that promises to prevent Alzheimer’s. These “treatments” might be unsafe, a waste of money, or both. They might even interfere with other medical treatments that have been prescribed.
The Importance Of Vascular Health
At present, researchers are still trying to understand the causes of Alzheimers disease and how to treat it.
But, vascular causes of dementia are another story. Vascular disease can cause or worsen dementia. Diseased blood vessels, along with high blood pressure, can cause tiny areas of bleeding or blocked blood flow to the brain silent strokes that may not even cause noticeable symptoms.
But when these small areas of brain injury happen over and over again, a person can develop problems with memory, gait, balance and other brain functions. Researchers are exploring the role of vascular disease in the development of Alzheimers dementia in particular, but its not yet clear if or how this occurs.
Taking steps to improve the health of your blood vessels involves lifestyle changes. Since brain changes can start decades before dementia symptoms appear, the earlier you begin preserving your vascular health, the better for your brain.
Heres a bonus: Improving blood vessel health helps you avoid stroke, heart attack and other serious diseases.
It’s been estimated that one in three cases of dementia is preventable. You cant do anything right now to stop or reverse the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimers disease, but you can do something about hypertension and vascular disease risk factors.
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Dementia Prevention: Reduce Your Risk Starting Now
Dementia is defined by loss of memory, problems with thinking and reasoning, and an inability to carry on with work and life activities independently. There are several kinds of dementia. Alzheimers disease is the most common, but for up to a third of people with dementia, even some of those diagnosed with Alzheimers, vascular disease is a major cause.
The good news is you can lower your risk of dementia. A Johns Hopkins neurologist, explains how.
Knowing A New Foreign Language
This might come off as odd to some nonetheless, discovering a new foreign language is an excellent way to stop Alzheimers condition.
Whilst learning a brand-new foreign language, the mind produces brand-new neural paths that ended up being reinforced over time via rep and access of info. Speaking more than one language likewise leads to far better development of the mind that deals with attention jobs and also executive functions.
Discovering a brand-new language certainly not simply keeps the mind pointy but additionally creates you more intelligent!
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Eat Like A Mediterranean
Over the past decades, research has formed a strong connection between dementia and diet. The Alzheimers Association reports that heart-healthy eating may also end up protecting the brain just as much as the heart.
Currently, there are two diets that might be the most beneficial to lowering the risk of dementia: the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet. The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, focuses on eating more vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans and vegetable oils. Similarly, the Mediterranean diet discourages red meat, instead encouraging more grains, fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil.
Which one should you choose? The National Institutes of Health reports that eating a Mediterranean diet can decrease risk of age-related dementia, but the DASH diet is also showing promising results in research studies as well. Talk to your physician about which might be best for you.
Can You Prevent Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimerâs is one of the diseases people most want to avoid, and for good reason. There is no proven way to prevent it. But thereâs a lot you can do to lower your chance of getting it.
Doctors donât know exactly why the disease strikes some people and not others, why it gets worse over the years, or how to cure it. And because they donât know the answers to these questions, they also arenât totally sure how to treat it.
Itâs true that Alzheimerâs becomes more common with age. But itâs not a normal part of getting older. Itâs also true that some gene glitches make you more likely to get it.
You canât control aging or your genes, but that doesnât mean you canât do anything about the disease. In fact, the same things that are good for your heart — and the rest of your body — could also help you make Alzheimerâs disease less likely. And a lot of it comes down to simple things you do every day.
Manage your numbers. Do you know if your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol are too high? Research shows strong connections between Alzheimerâs and conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. A lot of people donât know that they have these conditions. A checkup could let you know. And you and your doctor can work to manage any health problems you have.
Donât smoke. Avoid all forms of tobacco.
Alzheimerâs Association: âRisk Factors.â
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What Are The Warning Signs Of Alzheimers Disease
Watch this video Memory Loss is Not a Normal Part of Aging
Alzheimers disease is not a normal part of aging. Memory problems are typically one of the first warning signs of Alzheimers disease and related dementias.
In addition to memory problems, someone with symptoms of Alzheimers disease may experience one or more of the following:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as getting lost in a familiar place or repeating questions.
- Trouble handling money and paying bills.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure.
- Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them.
- Changes in mood, personality, or behavior.
Even if you or someone you know has several or even most of these signs, it doesnt mean its Alzheimers disease. Know the 10 warning signs .