The chances of getting Alzheimer's disease goes up with age. It also goes up if a parent had Alzheimer's disease. Everyone can lower their risk with healthy habits.
The brain and body are connected
The same habits that keep the heart healthy can help to protect the brain:
- Eat healthy foods
- Physical activity
- Staying at a healthy weight
- Don't smoke
- Don't drink too much alcohol
- Learn new things
- Join in social activities
- Protect the head from injury
The risk of Alzheimer's disease is lowest in people who do all of these things.
Take care of any chronic diseases
People with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease may be more likely to get Alzheimer's disease. This is because the brain needs both oxygen and blood sugar to be healthy. Those with heart problems may not get as much blood flow and oxygen to their brain. Those with type 2 diabetes may not be able to use sugar in the body or the brain in the right way. People with type 2 diabetes may also have some of the same heart problems that increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. It is a good idea to take medications as the doctor says. See the doctor regularly to make sure blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol are in the healthy range.
Prevent or slow down Alzheimer's disease
There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease. But the healthy habits described above can help to prevent or slow it down. Below are tips to get started.
|Physical Activity||Physical activity raises the heart rate and blood flow to the brain. This brings oxygen, vitamins and minerals that the brain needs.||
|Eat Healthy||Foods that have lots of nutrients help the body to work better, lowering the chances of getting heart disease, dementia and some cancers.||
|Prevent head injury||Falls, car crashes and sports can cause brain injury. Brain injury that happens years before may cause dementia.||
|Be Social||Spending time with others keeps the brain active and can lower stress, which helps to prevent disease.||
|Keep Learning||Learning new things keeps the brain active and helps it make new connections. This can help slow the signs of dementia.||
|Take care of yourself||Take care of chronic diseases and other health problems. This may help to prevent or slow down dementia.||
Find out more about brain health: www.alz.org or 1-800-272-3900
Written By: Morgen Hartford, MSW, Alzheimer's Association"Desert Southwest Chapter