Alzheimer’s, a degenerative condition in the brain, develops as a result of multiple factors in a person’s life. Age, genetics, environment, lifestyle, and other medical conditions coincide to cause this issue. Currently, the medical and science communities have no way to cure or prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
What they do have is a list of things that seem to slow or reduce the development of Alzheimer’s. They just aren’t sure why yet. Researchers haven’t been able to explain what about these lifestyle changes makes them effective. Either way, evidence strongly suggests that they do reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Exercise to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Research has shown that regular exercise not only reduces your risk, it also slows development in those who already show signs. It’s recommended to get about 150 minutes a week of a combined cardio and strength training routine. Building muscle helps keep the brain healthy and cardio keeps the heart healthy. Include balance and coordination exercises as well. Head injuries from falling have been linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Social Engagement as Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention
No, you should not become a hermit in the woods as you get older. Humans are social creatures down to their very core. Staying socially engaged and keeping a network of friends as you age helps to fend off decline due to isolation. Regular interaction with friends that make us feel loved and heard keeps our brains engaged and healthy.
Healthy Eating for Alzheimer’s Prevention
Insulin resistance and inflammation interfere with neurons and communication between brain cells. A strong link has been found between metabolic disorders and Alzheimer’s. A healthy diet can reduce inflammation and slow deterioration. Learning to prevent Alzheimer’s disease is also learning how to take care of yourself.
Studies show that people overweight in their midlife are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Losing weight is a big step toward safeguarding yourself, as is cutting down on sugar and refined carbs. Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil in your diet and drink with moderation.
Your brain is a muscle and like any other muscle. If you don’t use it, it weakens. Mental training and brain stimulation have long-lasting positive effects. Activities with multiple tasks, communication, organization, and interaction have the greatest potential benefits.
Recommended ways to stimulate your brain are:
- Learn something new- Taking a class or teaching yourself from YouTube are great ways to get introduced to new activities. Painting, music, languages - there is a never-ending supply of new things to learn in the world.
- Learn the next step in your current hobby- If you aren’t ready to learn something new, learn to improve the skills you already have.
- Brain teasers, puzzles, and strategy games- These stretch your mental muscles and help improve cognitive associations. Something as simple as a crossword or sudoku every day can help.
- Memory techniques- Creating rhymes and patterns strengthen your memory connections.
- Do the same thing, just different- Take different routes to get to your destination, use your opposite hand, and do other activities that force your brain to create new pathways.
Quality sleep is essential for flushing toxins from the brain. Poor sleep can actually produce a protein that disrupts the deep sleep required for memory formation.
Chronic stress can actually shrink memory areas in your brain, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s. Take the time to discover what stress management tools work for you and implement them daily.
Taking care of your brain includes taking care of your heart. Keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level is an important part of heart health. Poor vascular health can damage your brain cells, putting you at higher risk for Alzheimer's and dementia.
The place to start with Alzheimer’s disease prevention is learning to take care of yourself. Your body needs well-rounded care to support its systems, including your brain. If you would like help creating a prevention plan contact your doctor. At BASS Medical Group, your care is our top priority. If you have questions or would like to make an appointment, call (925) 350-4044 today. It is important to remember that you are not alone. Bass Medical is here to take care of you and your family.