Six things you can do to reduce your chance of Alzheimer’s Disease
As we age, many of us worry about developing Alzheimer’s disease. This condition causes more than half of all cases of dementia, which is a group of symptoms that cause difficulty in remembering things, understanding speech and talking. It’s concerning to think that one day we won’t be able to recognize our loved ones or process information as well as we do now. Fortunately, there are several natural ways to lower Alzheimer’s risks that you can use to slow or prevent the onset of the disorder. These six lifestyle changes to lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease are a great place to start.
Doing aerobic exercise
Physical activity has so many benefits — including protecting you against Alzheimer’s. It keeps blood flowing well around your body and can also increase the amount of natural chemicals in your body that protect your brain and memory. Getting your heart rate up with exercise also helps you manage high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are both risk factors for dementia. To enjoy the brain-boosting benefits of working out, try to get in at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise — such as walking, running or swimming — four days a week.
Smoking can cause your blood vessels and arteries to narrow and harden, which makes it difficult for blood to pass through them. This can greatly increase your chances of developing dementia because less blood is getting to your brain. Quitting smoking is one of the most straightforward lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
You don’t have to become a total social butterfly. However, connecting with other people may play a role in keeping Alzheimer’s disease at bay. Scientists aren’t sure exactly how it works, but research suggests that staying socially active and feeling like you have emotional support from other people have a preventive affect against dementia. Consider volunteering for a cause that means a lot to you. Or, get in your aerobic exercise and enjoying connecting with friends at the same time by taking a class together at the gym.
Trying the Mediterranean diet
It’s healthy, vibrant and delicious. It can also help you have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s. The Mediterranean diet is rich in fresh fruits, veggies, olive oil, legumes, fish and whole grains. These foods may prevent the loss of brain tissue that’s common with Alzheimer’s. They can also help your brain function well — even when symptoms of dementia are already starting.
Getting quality sleep
Sleep can do everything from keeping your immune system working well to helping you maintain a healthy weight. Getting enough sleep — that means enough deep, rapid eye movement sleep — may also lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The disease causes harmful proteins called amyloid plaques to build up in your brain. When you get a restful eight hours of sleep at night, your brain has more time to efficiently clear out these plaques.
Getting mental exercise
Physical and social workouts are wonderful, but you’ll also want to exercise your brain to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s. Like getting good sleep, mental exercise can help clear amyloid plaques from your brain. Learning new things, doing puzzles, reading, writing and enjoying a favorite hobby are all excellent ways to stimulate your mind.
It’s natural to forget things from time to time, but if you’re worried about developing dementia, we’re here to help. Contact us at 513-952-5000 today to make an appointment with a primary care doctor or specialist and learn more about what you can do to lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.