Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that more than 5.5 million Americans suffer from. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the biggest concerns many of us have as we get older, especially if you’ve witnessed a loved one affected by the disease. Researchers across the world are racing towards a cure, but unfortunately still do not have one. There are ways that we can prevent or delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias through a combination of healthy habits. By identifying and controlling your personal risk factors, you can maximize your chance of lifelong brain health and take steps to preserve your cognitive abilities.
- Get regular exercise. Regular physical exercise can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50 percent. Exercise protects against Alzheimer’s by stimulating the brain’s ability to maintain old connections as well as make new ones.
- A healthy diet. Alzheimer’s 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. These healthy eating tips can help reduce inflammation and protect your brain. Cut down on sugar, avoid trans fats, get plenty of omega-3 fats and cook at home often.
- Get quality sleep. It’s common for people with Alzheimer’s disease to suffer from insomnia and other sleep problems. If nightly sleep deprivation is slowing your thinking and affecting your mood, you may be at a greater risk of developing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The vast majority of adults need at least eight hours of sleep per night.
- Control blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Both high blood pressure and high total cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Improving those numbers are good for your brain as well as your heart.
- Drink only in moderation.While there appear to be brain benefits in consuming red wine in moderation, heavy alcohol consumption can dramatically raise the risk of Alzheimer’s and accelerate brain aging.
There is no proven way to prevent Alzheimer’s. But there’s a lot you can do to lower your chance of getting it. By doing these things in your daily life, you increase your chance of having good brain health and preserving your cognitive abilities.