Can you reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s or dementia? Can changing things you do in your life now, decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia? The answers to these questions is yes. Researchers while looking for a cure have discovered that it may be possible to prevent or delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia through a combination of healthy habits. Identifying and controlling your personal risk factors can maximize your chances or lifelong brain health.
Cognitive aging begins at age 20, and the choices you make today will impact your minds for the rest of your lives. Researchers now recognize that Alzheimer’s or dementia begins in mid-life, and the risk of Alzheimer’s can be reduce by a combination of healthy habits, like eating right, exercising, staying mentally and socially active, and keeping stress in check. Alzheimer’s is a complex disease with multiple risk factors. There are some risk factors you can not change, like your age and genetics, are outside your control. But many others are within your sphere of influence. And these factors can be quite powerful when it comes to your brain health.
According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, regular physical exercise can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50 percent. What’s more, exercise can also slow further deterioration in those who have already started to develop cognitive problems. Research suggests that exercise protects against Alzheimer’s by stimulating the brain’s ability to maintain old connections as well as make new ones. In addition, in Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation and insulin resistance injure neurons and inhibit communication between brain cells. Alzheimer’s is sometimes described as “diabetes of the brain,” and a growing body of information suggests a strong link between metabolic disorders and the signal processing systems. Eating habits that reduce inflammation and promote normal energy production are brain-healthy. These food tips will keep you protected.
Strengthening your brain is a good way to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Those who continue learning new things throughout life and challenging their brains are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, so make it a point to stay mentally active. Activities involving multiple tasks or requiring communication, interaction, and organization offer the greatest protection. Set aside time each day to stimulate your brain. Cross-training with brain-boosting activities will help keep you mentally sharp. Another way to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s is adequate sleep. It’s common for people with Alzheimer’s disease to suffer from insomnia and other sleep problems. But new research suggests that disrupted sleep isn’t just a symptom of Alzheimer’s, but a possible risk factor. Studies emphasize the importance of uninterrupted sleep for flushing out brain toxins. If nightly sleep deprivation is slowing your thinking and affecting your mood, you may be at greater risk of developing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The vast majority of adults need at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Any less, and productivity and creativity suffers.
Another risk factor that you can control to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s is stress. Stress that is chronic or severe takes a heavy toll on the brain, leading to shrinkage in a key memory area of the brain known as the hippo-campus, hampering nerve cell growth, and increasing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. There are some simple daily tools which can minimize stress harmful effects. The last thing that can reduce your risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s is social interaction. Isolation is very detrimental to anyone.
Human beings are highly social creatures. We don’t thrive in isolation, and neither do our brains. Studies show that the more connected we are, the better we fare on tests of memory and cognition. Research shows that staying socially engaged may even protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in later life, so make developing and maintaining a strong network of friends a priority. It is not necessary to be a social butterfly, just maintain face-to-face interactions. It is the quality not the quantity. Just keeping communication open between friends and family, and your spouse. By ensuring you are not isolated from everyone, you are reducing your risk for Alzheimer’s.