Alzheimer’s is among the many diseases most people want to avoid, and for good reasons. Nonetheless, the statistics of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is staggering. According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, about 44 million individuals globally are living with Alzheimer’s or an associated form of dementia. We will be discussing some 7 ways to Lower Your Alzheimer’s Risk and get a healthier life.
Although the disease is more common in old age, it does not mean it’s a normal part of aging. Moreover, recent analysis indicates that as much as half of the risks associated with Alzheimer’s disease is as a result of other potentially modifiable factors, independent of age and genetics. As such, promising emerging research indicates that people can actually lower the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s and other related forms of dementia through a combination of simple but effective lifestyle modifications.
Following the steps below will help reduce associated risk factors and lower your Alzheimer’s risk:
- Exercising regularly
According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, consistent physical activity and exercise can prevent the development of Alzheimer’s or slow the progression in people already displaying the symptoms. Generally, physical activity and exercise stimulates your cognitive functions and has a positive effect on mental decline. The recommendation is at least 30 minutes for 5 or more days per week and incorporating a combination of moderately vigorous strength training and cardio exercises. Additionally, older individuals can include Yoga, Tai Chi, among other exercises in their routines to improve balance and coordination and ensure they remain agile, which reduces the risk of head injuries from falls that are prevalent in old age.
- Incorporating a healthy diet
A healthy diet does more than benefit our modelesque silhouettes. It promotes good health and reduces nutrition-related risk factors associated with various diseases such as cancer, diabetes, among others, and keeps our brains healthy. However, studies indicate that while some foods boost mental activities, others increase risks for AD. Generally, the brain requires a diet rich in healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and sufficient minerals and vitamins. Consumption of too little of these foods and too much-processed foods, sugar and complex carbohydrates promotes the production of toxins which have adverse impacts on the body.
Furthermore, recent studies show that a combination of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet for high blood pressure or the Mediterranean diet for a healthy heart creates an excellent hybrid diet dubbed “MIND” that boosts brain health. The MIND diet consists of natural plant-based foods and limited red meat, sweets and saturated fats. Observational analysis of this diet suggests that it can decrease the risk of AD development by 53% as well as slow mental deterioration.
- Stay socially engaged
Humans are innately social beings. As such, staying socially engaged can protect you from Alzheimer’s later in life. The recommendation is to try and regularly connect or engage one on one with other people. Some of the activities you can do include volunteering, meeting up with friends at least every week, get out of the house and go to the cinema, museums, parks, join a social group, and so on.
- Keep learning
Learning promotes mental stimulation, which boosts brain activity and lowers the risks of Alzheimer’s disease. In essence, studies show that you need to use your brain or you lose it. Learning something new and participating in multiple tasks that require communication, interaction and organization will not only improve cognitive functioning in older adults but also provides long-lasting improvements.
- Get adequate sleep
Sleep is an integral component for optimum brain health. Generally, Alzheimer’s is characterized by the build-up of two types of protein in the brain, plaques (amyloid-beta) and tangles (tau). The accumulation of amyloid-beta interferes with deep sleep that is essential for memory formation. As such, a growing number of studies suggest that adequate sleep is crucial in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. You can ensure you get sufficient sleep by establishing a consistent sleeping routine, developing a soothing bedtime ritual and so on.
- Manage your stress
Persistent or chronic stress can harm your brain by hindering nerve cell growth, increasing the risk of AD, among others. Using simple stress management techniques such as breathing, scheduling relaxation activities, having fun, and so on can help reduce the impacts of stress.
- Be mindful of your health
Other underlying health conditions also contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Some of these conditions include depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular diseases. However, going for regular check-ups and consulting your doctor can significantly help in managing these conditions and preventing further complications.
Other factors, such as smoking are avoidable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and other related forms of dementia. Generally, studies indicate that smokers are at approximately 80% greater risk of developing AD compared to those who don’t smoke.
Generally, detecting and controlling the risk factors mentioned above and incorporating a brain-healthy lifestyle can significantly lower your susceptibility to Alzheimer’s. Following the ways mentioned above will not only prevent you from developing AD but also other diseases and ensure you lead a healthy life.