Reducing Your Risk For Dementia
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As you age, you may have concerns about the increased risk of dementia. You may have questions, too. Are there steps I can take to prevent it? Is there anything I can do to reduce my risk? There are currently no approaches that have been proven to effectively treat or prevent Alzheimers disease and related dementias. However, as with many other diseases, there may be steps you can take to help reduce your risk.
Does Exercise Help With Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention
Much research has investigated the role of exercise in regards to Alzheimers disease and the evidence suggests that a regular exercise regimen can be a beneficial strategy to reduce the risk of Alzheimers and other forms of dementia. Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain and increases an important brain growth hormone called brain derived neurotrophic factor. All forms of exercise are beneficial for preventing Alzheimers disease: cardiovascular exercise, resistance training, and mobility. At the Amos Institute, we help you curate an exercise regimen that will optimize your cognitive health.
Potential Strategies To Delay The Onset Of Alzheimer’s
Scientists do not know the exact cause of AD. They do not know how to slow it down or the precise way to prevent it. However, certain lifestyle habits might help reduce your general risk of developing the disease. Lifestyle and environment play a role in developing AD. General healthy living tips for disease prevention include:1-4
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How To Prevent Alzheimers: Strategies For Early Prevention
Its one of the most-asked questions in current medicine: How do I prevent Alzheimers disease?
Early prevention shows great promise for lowering the risk of cognitive decline. The sooner prevention can start, the better the outcome.
Whats more, these methods can result in a boost in wellness starting right now. Here are the top research-backed strategies to prevent Alzheimers.
Mental And Physical Activity
An active mind and body are hugely important lifestyle choices in preventing Alzheimers. Sedentary habits, either mentally or physically, have been shown to result in decreased cognition and increased risk of AD.
What activities prevent Alzheimers? Physical activity can prevent Alzheimers, such as walking 30 minutes a day to increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. Making small choices toward physical exercise like taking the stairs, parking farther away, or investing in a pedometer can work toward this goal.
For mental activity, actively challenge yourself with crossword puzzles, retaining friendships and social activities, and finding opportunities for problem solving.
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Diet And Dementia Risk
Changes in the brain can occur years before the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s appear. These early brain changes suggest a possible window of opportunity to prevent or delay dementia symptoms. Scientists are looking at many possible ways to do this, including drugs, lifestyle changes and combinations of these interventions. Unlike other risk factors for Alzheimers that we cant change, such as age and genetics, people can control lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise and cognitive training.
How could what we eat affect our brains? Its possible that eating a certain diet affects biological mechanisms, such as oxidative stress and inflammation, that underlie Alzheimers. Or perhaps diet works indirectly by affecting other Alzheimers risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. A new avenue of research focuses on the relationship between gut microbes tiny organisms in the digestive system and aging-related processes that lead to Alzheimers.
Top 10 Ways To Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Each year, nearly 10 million people are newly diagnosed with dementia around the globe. While there is currently no cure for the condition, scientists have been researching the disease for decades to find out why it happens and what the body goes through as the condition progresses. The Alzheimers Association reports that current research is focused on risk factors ranging from high blood pressure to lack of exercise and how good brain health can prevent or delay the onset of disease.
When it comes to the latest dementia research from across the globe, scientists seem to agree on one thing: prevention. A few lifestyle changes, from the foods you eat to the way you deal with stress, could help you reduce your risk factors.
Here are the top ways to prevent Alzheimers disease by adjusting your lifestyle or habits. Its never too early, or too late, to begin to bolster your cognitive health.
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Exercising In Later Life
Although less research has been done with healthy older people, there is some evidence to show older people can also reduce their risk of dementia with regular exercise. In a study of 716 people with an average age of 82 years, people who were in the bottom 10 per cent in terms of amount of daily physical activity were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as those in the top 10 per cent.
A literature review found 27 studies looking at the effect of physical activity on brain function in people over 60 years of age. In 26 of the studies there was a clear link between physical activity levels and cognitive performance, suggesting that exercise might be an effective way to reduce cognitive decline in later life.
Aerobic exercise has also been shown to affect the brains of healthy older people. In a modest-sized controlled trial, one year of aerobic exercise resulted in a small increase in the size of the hippocampus , which was the equivalent of reversing one to two years of age-related shrinkage. A study of 638 people in Scotland that asked people about their activity levels found those who were physically active at age 70 experienced less brain shrinkage over three years than those who were not.
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During the UK study’s six years of follow-up, there were 668 cases of dementia, with the likelihood higher among those who had a high genetic risk score. But the risk was more than halved among participants with a high genetic factors but who had followed a healthy lifestyle, the researchers reported. That would work out to one case of dementia prevented for each 121 individuals with high genetic risk over a 10 year period.
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Finding A Natural Alternative To Scfa To Activate Ffar2
Researchers performed a large-scale virtual screening to find potential candidates that mimic the same benefits of the gut-derived SCFA in stimulating the FFAR2 to protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease. This is important because SCFAs are mostly consumed by the gut ad other organs before it reaches the brain.
They were able to identify the compound fenchol in basil that can best bind with FFAR2’s active site to activate it. Further experiments demonstrated that fenchol reduced amyloid-beta accumulation and death of neurons in animal models with Alzheimer’s disease. The compound also decreased senescent neuronal cells and stop zombie cells to replicate and let them die a slow death.
“It reduces the formation of half-dead zombie neuronal cells and also increases the degradation of A, so that amyloid protein is cleared from the brain much faster,” Dr. Yadav said as quoted by Medical Xpress.
Who Has Alzheimers Disease
- In 2020, as many as 5.8 million Americans were living with Alzheimers disease.1
- Younger people may get Alzheimers disease, but it is less common.
- The number of people living with the disease doubles every 5 years beyond age 65.
- This number is projected to nearly triple to 14 million people by 2060.1
- Symptoms of the disease can first appear after age 60, and the risk increases with age.
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Prevention Begins Decades Before Symptoms
How can dementia be prevented? Dementia may potentially be prevented by choosing a healthy lifestyle in your physical activity, eating habits, oral hygiene, and even personal relationships.
These decisions can pay off not only in a happier, healthier middle age, but also for your brain later in life. Getting an early start, even from young adulthood, is the most effective strategy in preventing Alzheimers disease.
However, if youre past your 40s and still wanting to stave off late-onset Alzheimers, its never too late to make these alterations to your lifestyle and promote brain health.
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How can I prevent Alzheimers? Are there any treatments out there for people who already have it?
Those are the two things people want to know, says P. Murali Doraiswamy, director of the Neurocognitive Disorders Program at Duke University School of Medicine, and co-author of The Alzheimers Action Plan.
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Exercise Your Body And Mind
Physical exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and some studies suggest that it can improve cognitive agility. For an Alzheimers patient, exercise may also help maintain muscle strength, decrease frailty, and elevate mood.
Some research suggests that exercising our brain, through activities like reading, learning a musical instrument, or playing chess, can help protect people from cognitive decline later in life. Again, rigorous clinical trials will be required to prove this is true. In the meantime, learning new skills and activities may, at a minimum, enrich your life. Learn more about healthy living with Alzheimers disease.
Can Increasing Physical Activity Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Physical activity has many health benefits, such as reducing falls, maintaining mobility and independence, and reducing the risk of chronic conditions like depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Based on research to date, there’s not enough evidence to recommend exercise as a way to prevent Alzheimer’s dementia or mild cognitive impairment , a condition of mild memory problems that often leads to Alzheimer’s dementia.
Years of animal and human observational studies suggest the possible benefits of exercise for the brain. Some studies have shown that people who exercise have a lower risk of cognitive decline than those who don’t. Exercise has also been associated with fewer Alzheimer’s plaques and tangles in the brain and better performance on certain cognitive tests.
While clinical trials suggest that exercise may help delay or slow age-related cognitive decline, there is not enough evidence to conclude that it can prevent or slow MCI or Alzheimer’s dementia. One study compared high-intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking or running on a treadmill, to low-intensity stretching and balance exercises in 65 volunteers with MCI and prediabetes. After 6 months, researchers found that the aerobic group had better executive functionthe ability to plan and organizethan the stretching/balance group, but not better short-term memory.
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What About Vitamins And Supplements
Observational studies and clinical trials have looked at many over-the-counter vitamins and dietary supplements, including vitamins B and E and gingko biloba, to prevent Alzheimers disease or cognitive decline. The idea is that these dietary add-ons might attack oxidative damage or inflammation, protect nerve cells, or influence other biological processes involved in Alzheimers.
Despite early findings of possible benefits for brain health, no vitamin or supplement has been proven to work in people. Overall, evidence is weak as many studies were too small or too short to be conclusive.
Take DHA for example. Studies in mice showed that this omega-3 fatty acid, found in salmon and certain other fish, reduced beta-amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimers. However, clinical trials in humans have had mixed results. In a study of 485 older adults with age-related cognitive decline, those who took a DHA supplement daily for 24 weeks showed improved learning and memory, compared to those who took a placebo. Another study of 4,000 older adults conducted primarily to study eye disease concluded that taking omega-3 supplements, alone or with other supplements, did not slow cognitive decline.
For more information, visit the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
# 2 Cognitive Training
The cognitive training involves taking a step beyond what implies the previous year. Cognitive training consists of spending structured time dedicated to brain training. In this regard, research shows that cognitive training can be an effective means of improving memory, reasoning, and language skills.
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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.
Tips For Starting And Sticking With An Exercise Plan
If youve been inactive for a while, starting an exercise program can be intimidating. But remember: a little exercise is better than none. In fact, adding just modest amounts of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your health.
Choose activities you enjoy and start smalla 10-minute walk a few times a day, for exampleand allow yourself to gradually build up your momentum and self-confidence.
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Why Education May Help Prevent Dementia
Education could play an important role in improving cognitive reserve, which is the brains ability to cope with damage that would otherwise lead to dementia, according to Oh.
Research suggests that education helps the brain develop more synapses, which are the junctions between brain cells that relay information, but were not entirely sure, says Oh. More synapses may boost cognitive reserve, which may help prevent dementia.
Another reason could be that people with more education tend to have healthier lifestyles than those with less education. People who are more educated may be more aware that smoking, lack of exercise and not eating well are bad for their health, she says, and they may make healthier choices.
What Is The Burden Of Alzheimers Disease In The United States
- Alzheimers disease is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States.2
- The 6th leading cause of death among US adults.
- The 5th leading cause of death among adults aged 65 years or older.3
In 2020, an estimated 5.8 million Americans aged 65 years or older had Alzheimers disease.1 This number is projected to nearly triple to 14 million people by 2060.1
In 2010, the costs of treating Alzheimers disease were projected to fall between $159 and $215 billion.4 By 2040, these costs are projected to jump to between $379 and more than $500 billion annually.4
Death rates for Alzheimers disease are increasing, unlike heart disease and cancer death rates that are on the decline.5 Dementia, including Alzheimers disease, has been shown to be under-reported in death certificates and therefore the proportion of older people who die from Alzheimers may be considerably higher.6
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What You Should Do For Alzheimers Prevention
Even though we don’t have enough evidence that all healthy lifestyle choices prevent Alzheimer’s, we do know they can prevent other chronic problems. For example, limiting alcohol intake can help reduce the risk for certain cancers, such as breast cancer. Best advice: make as many healthy lifestyle choices as you can. “They’re all beneficial, and if they help you avoid Alzheimer’s, all the better,” says Dr. Marshall.
Know the symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Forgetting where you parked your car can be annoying. If it happens all the time, it can be disturbing, and you may worry that it’s a sign of a more serious condition. But don’t panic. There’s a difference between normal age-related memory slips, such as forgetting where the car keys are, and more serious signs of memory loss, such as forgetting what car keys are used for.
Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include frequent memory loss, confusion about locations, taking longer to accomplish normal daily tasks, trouble handling money and paying bills, loss of spontaneity, and mood and personality changes. “If you have a decline in your memory or thinking that affects your ability to perform any of your daily routines, ask your doctor for a screening to evaluate you for Alzheimer’s and related conditions,” says Dr. Gad Marshall, a Harvard Medical School assistant professor of neurology.
Pillar #: Healthy Diet
In Alzheimers disease, inflammation and insulin resistance injure neurons and inhibit communication between brain cells. Alzheimers is sometimes described as diabetes of the brain, and a growing body of research suggests a strong link between metabolic disorders and the signal processing systems. By adjusting your eating habits, however, you can help reduce inflammation and protect your brain.
Manage your weight. Extra pounds are a risk factor for Alzheimers disease and other types of dementia. A major study found that people who were overweight in midlife were twice as likely to develop Alzheimers down the line, and those who were obese had three times the risk. Losing weight can go a long way to protecting your brain.
Cut down on sugar.Sugary foods and refined carbs such as white flour, white rice, and pasta can lead to dramatic spikes in blood sugar which inflame your brain. Watch out for hidden sugar in all kinds of packaged foods from cereals and bread to pasta sauce and low or no-fat products.
Enjoy a Mediterranean diet. Several epidemiological studies show that eating a Mediterranean diet dramatically reduces the risk of decline from cognitive impairment and Alzheimers disease. That means plenty of vegetables, beans, whole grains, fish and olive oiland limited processed food.
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