Control Your Blood Pressure
Hypertension or high blood pressure is strongly associated with an increased risk of dementia. High blood pressure can damage tiny blood vessels in the parts of the brain responsible for cognition and memory. The latest American Heart Association guidelines class blood pressure readings of 130/80 mm Hg and above as the start of high blood pressure.
Check your blood pressure at home. A study in the Netherlands found that a large variation in blood pressure readings over a period of years was associated with an increased risk of dementia. Inexpensive monitors that wrap around your upper arm can help you keep track of your blood pressure throughout the day and pick up on any variations. Some devices even send the results to your phone so you can easily track your readings or share them with your doctor.
Look After Your Heart
Research shows that people who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or are obese, particularly around middle age, have a greater risk of developing dementia later in life. Leaving these conditions untreated can lead to damaged blood vessels in the brain, which in turn damages brain cells and leads to impaired thinking functions.
Although there are no guarantees that keeping your heart healthy will prevent dementia, you will give yourself the best chance of avoiding or delaying dementia.
Promisingly, studies have shown that the treatment of high blood pressure reduces that risk. Other studies indicate that treating high cholesterol and diabetes may also reduce the risk of developing dementia, although more research is needed in this area.
It is recommended you have regular check-ups to assess your:
Have An Nhs Health Check
An NHS Health Check is a free check-up of your overall health for people aged 40 to 74 who do not have heart disease, diabetes or kidney disease, and have not had a stroke. It’s offered every 5 years.
The NHS Health Check can help find early signs and tell you if you’re at higher risk of certain health problems that can also increase your risk of dementia. These include:
- heart disease
- kidney disease
If you’re over age 65, you’ll be told the signs and symptoms of dementia to look out for. You’ll also be given advice on how to lower your risk of dementia.
If you have not been invited for an NHS Health Check, ask your GP surgery.
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Healthy Oils Like Extra Virgin Olive Oil And Coconut Oil
Extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil are said to be beneficial towards fighting the effects of Alzheimers.
The medium-chain triglycerides present in coconut oil increase the level of ketone bodies in the blood, which work as alternative brain fuel and improve cognitive performance.
Extra-virgin olive oil contains oleo can, a phenolic compound that improves the production of key proteins and enzymes that break down amyloid plaques. Therefore, extra-virgin olive oil acts as a neuroprotective mechanism against Alzheimers disease.
While further research is required, there is strong anecdotal evidence for the benefits of both these oils incorporated into your cooking. As little as one tablespoon of coconut oil per day may help to improve cognitive functioning and memory, and
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 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.
If You Live In England
Your GP may invite you to an NHS Health Check, or you can book an appointment by contacting them.
This NHS Health Check is available to anyone aged 4074 who lives in England and does not already have diabetes, heart, kidney or circulation problems. It is designed to find any early signs of these conditions and stop them getting worse. Ideally, you should have this check-up every five years.
After your health check, you can discuss any concerns with a healthcare professional and get advice on looking after your health, including reducing your risk of dementia.
If you already have any of these conditions, its still important to have regular health check-ups. However you dont need to book an NHS Health Check specifically.
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Dark Skinned Fruits With Antioxidants
Scientists have also been exploring the benefits of antioxidants and there is some evidence that dietary antioxidants may improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimers and other types of dementia.
- The antioxidants and flavonoids in berries, melon, plums, and oranges have high fiber content and can also help prevent cancer. Another benefit seems to be helping protect cognitive function. Some research shows that women who consume high amounts of berries can delay cognitive aging by as much as 2.5 years.
For example, one study reported on in the Journal of Alzheimers Disease found that an antioxidant may be able to reduce plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimers. Foods high in antioxidants include: berries like raspberries, strawberries, oranges and other dark skinned fruits.
Leafy Greens And Other Vegetables
Vegetables, particularly leafy green vegetables, have been shown to have protective effects on the brain. In fact, a study in the Journal of Nutritional Health and Aging stated: Increased intake of vegetables is associated with a lower risk of dementia and slower rates of cognitive decline in old age.
- Leafy green and cruciferous vegetables are believed to help control blood sugar and prevent type 2 diabetes. Examples of foods you can work into your daily diet include kale, spinach, radish, cauliflower, broccoli, romaine, and cabbage.
It is important to note, however, that seniors who take blood thinners should avoid greens like kale which is high in vitamin K, as this can potentially cause dangerous drug interactions.
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Avoid Excess Alcohol Consumption
Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol can damage your brain and increase your risk of dementia. Long-term excessive alcohol consumption can cause brain damage and lead to a condition called alcohol-related dementia. It may also increase the risk of Alzheimers disease and other dementias.
National physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines for Australian adults
- are active every day in as many ways as you can
- think of movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience
- incorporate movement and activity into your normal daily routine
- are active with a friend or family member
- choose activities you enjoy
- if you can, enjoy regular vigorous exercise for extra health and fitness.
Other Ways To Take Care Of Your Health
Get a good nights sleep
Sleep is important for your mental wellbeing and it may reduce your risk of dementia. A good nights sleep for many people is around seven to eight hours.
Obstructive sleep apnoea is a sleep disorder that may particularly increase a persons risk of getting dementia. This is because it reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to the brain. People who have sleep apnoea stop breathing during their sleep and then wake up with a start.
If you have any problems sleeping well, particularly sleep apnoea, speak to your GP about getting support.
Protect your hearing and get it tested
Hearing loss may increase your risk of getting dementia. However the reasons for this are still unclear.
Many people start to lose their hearing as they get older, though they may not notice it at first.
To avoid hearing loss increasing your risk of getting dementia, its important to get your hearing tested. You may be able to book a free hearing test at your local optician or speak to your GP about being referred to an audiologist . This will show up any hearing issues and provide ways of managing them, such as using a hearing aid.
Often, managing hearing loss works best when you start doing it early on. This means protecting your hearing from a young age. For example, you can avoid listening to loud noises for long periods, and wear ear protection when necessary.
Protect your head
Serious TBIs in younger people are mostly caused by:
- road traffic accidents
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What Are Some Complications Of Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimers disease is an irreversible form of dementia. The rate of progression differs between people: some people have it only in the last 5 years of their life, while others may have it for as long as 20 years. Alzheimers disease eventually leads to complete dependence and increasing frailty. This means a secondary illness, such as pneumonia, may eventually cause death.
Other complications of Alzheimers disease may include:
- an inability to complete daily tasks such as planning meals and managing money
- a tendency to wander from home
- personality changes such as anxiety, depression and irritability that make relationships more difficult
- delusions and hallucinations in advanced stages of the disease
Dr David Satcher A Former Us Surgeon General And Former Director Of The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention
Establishing a national, measurable dementia prevention goal is a good idea. Efforts to reduce the risk of Alzheimers and related dementias should be closely aligned with other public health efforts to combat obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions that share the same risk factors disproportionately impact communities of color.
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What Are The Warning Signs Of Alzheimers Disease
Watch this video play circle solid iconMemory 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 .
Can Cognitive Training Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Cognitive training involves structured activities designed to enhance memory, reasoning, and speed of processing. There is encouraging but inconclusive evidence that a specific, computer-based cognitive training may help delay or slow age-related cognitive decline. However, there is no evidence that it can prevent or delay Alzheimer’s-related cognitive impairment.
Studies show that cognitive training can improve the type of cognition a person is trained in. For example, older adults who received 10 hours of practice designed to enhance their speed and accuracy in responding to pictures presented briefly on a computer screen got faster and better at this specific task and other tasks in which enhanced speed of processing is important. Similarly, older adults who received several hours of instruction on effective memory strategies showed improved memory when using those strategies. The important question is whether such training has long-term benefits or translates into improved performance on daily activities like driving and remembering to take medicine.
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Keep Your Mind Active
An active mind may help lower the risk of dementia, so keep challenging yourself. Some examples would be:
- study something new, like a new language
- do puzzles and play games
- read challenging books
- learn to read music, take up an instrument, or start writing
- stay socially engaged: keep in touch with others or join group activities
What Is Alzheimers Disease
- Alzheimers disease is the most common type of dementia.
- It is a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment.
- Alzheimers disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.
- It can seriously affect a persons ability to carry out daily activities.
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Schedule Dinner With A Friend
Recent research has given us all another reason to reach out and connect with a friend or make new relationships with neighbors. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that social isolation was connected to a 50% increased risk of dementia in addition to other serious medical conditions.
Further, research published in PLOS Medicine followed adults for 28 years to see how lifestyle could affect aging, including cognitive skills. They found that those who had frequent social contact had a positive effect on the brain, creating a cognitive reserve, reducing stress and promoting other healthy behaviors.
Take this as your sign to call your friend and set up a time to grab coffee or dinner.
Detect And Treat Depression
While we dont yet know how to prevent depression, we do know that many people with depression do not get adequate treatment, and that untreated depression can significantly increase risk for Alzheimers disease.The links between depression and dementia are complex. Many cognitive functions such as attention, memory and planning can be affected in depression , and in older patients, it can be unclear whether a cognitive problem is a symptom of depression, dementia, or both. It is thought that untreated depression can significantly increase risk for Alzheimers disease for example the MIRAGE study found a significant association between depression and Alzheimers disease .
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Dementia: How To Prevent Cognitive Decline
Physical activity, nutrition and cognitively stimulating activities are all known to be good ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. And older adults at risk can access a variety of lifestyle services to that end, including diet regimes and exercises for their body and mind.
Now an international team of researchers led by Université de Montréal psychology professor Sylvie Belleville has determined how many of those intervention sessions are needed prevent cognitive decline in people at risk: only about a dozen.
Published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia : The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, the study by Dr. Belleville and colleagues at the universities of Toulouse and Helsinki show that 12 to 14 sessions are all that’s were needed to observe an improvement in cognition. Until now, the number of sessions or “doses” needed for optimal effect has been unknown.
“In pharmacological studies, every effort is made to define an optimal treatment dose needed to observe the expected effects, ” said Belleville, a neuropsychologist and researcher at the research centere of the UdeM-affiliated Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal. “This is rarely done in non-pharmacological studies, especially those on the prevention of cognitive decline, where little information is available to identify this dose.
People’s individuality important
Keep Your Brain Flexible
Neuroplasticity is a big word for the brain’s ability to continue changing and growing. A study in the JAMA Psychiatry journal suggests that a flexible brain can slow dementia. The thought is that when you have more brain connections, you are less likely to suffer from dementia because your brain is more able to adapt and create new connections.
Action Strategy: Make a goal to use your brain every day. Whether it is learning a new language or figuring out your new phone. The more you continue to use your brain, the healthier your brain stays.
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Learn More About Being Proactive About Your Brain Health
At the Well for Health, we want to see you reach optimum health and take joy from your life every day. Working to support your wellness is what we do, and what we love to do.
Learn more about making your brain more resilient as you age and lowering your likelihood of developing Alzheimers disease by scheduling a consultation with us. Simply give our office a call or book an appointment online. We look forward to seeing yo
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Strategies To Prevent Alzheimers Disease
Many strategies to prevent Alzheimers disease are based around lifestyle-related changes. All of these will not only result in a lower risk of impaired cognitive function, but also improve your health today.
The Alzheimers Association states that preventative action can be taken to effectively reduce the risk of developing AD.
How can you prevent Alzheimers naturally? You can prevent Alzheimers naturally with healthy eating, lowering stress, improving heart health, getting enough mental and physical activity, and maintaining good oral hygiene.
The 5 most effective strategies to prevent Alzheimers disease naturally are:
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