Long Life and Health
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Aging Mental Health

Keeping the Mind Sharp Reduces Risk of Alzheimer’s

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are talked about often but they are not a normal part of aging.

Most seniors will not develop these problems, but some do. Although it cannot be completely prevented, there are things you can do to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that first affects memory. People with the disease have difficulty remembering names and places they have been or knowing what words to say – even common ones, and it becomes more difficult as the disease progresses.

Before long, their ability to make good decisions or doing daily tasks becomes impossible. The disease may also affect their character. 

Genes and Alzheimer’s

Some people do have genes that may lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Statistics reveal that less than 5% of those with the genes get Alzheimer’s. Doing the right things can help you avoid or lower dementia risk.

Getting Enough Exercise

Instead of waiting to see if you will develop the disease, take steps now and begin to fight it. The first and best way to prevent dementia is to exercise regularly. It needs to be moderate, and you should engage in it for about 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours, each week for the best results. 

Exercise should be mixed rather than using one kind only. Start by selecting one type of exercise that you like – which will help you keep going. Then add strengthening exercises. You can use a wearable device or an app on your phone. Watching exercise videos on your phone or TV may also help, as well as joining an exercise class. 

Stay Mentally Active

Watching a lot of TV or videos is not going to help you fight off Alzheimer’s or dementia. Instead, you want to do things that will challenge your brain and stimulate it to think.

You can do this in many ways. Taking a new course in college, learning a new language, or playing a new musical instrument will help keep a sharp mind. So will playing table games such as chess or checkers, creative writing, or doing arts and crafts – particularly with others in a group.

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Helping Your Heart Helps Your Head

Studies have revealed that as many as 80% of people that develop Alzheimer’s also have cardiovascular disease. It is why – if you want to prevent Alzheimer’s – you must take care of issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. 

Eating Right Helps

Since your diet affects your heart and your brain, a healthy diet can also help you reduce and possibly prevent cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and obesity. A study showed that people that already showed some cognitive impairment improved most when they combined exercise with the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. 

How to Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

When you want to reduce your Alzheimer’s risk, focus on doing the things required for good health. These are the things you can control. People that developed Alzheimer’s had some of the following risk factors. Reducing your risk means you will need to: 

  • Get physically active and keep a healthy weight
  • Control high blood sugar and high blood pressure
  • Quit smoking and drinking excessively 
  • Correct hearing loss
  • Get a good night’s sleep every night

You can help to keep your brain sharp as you grow older. Alzheimer’s can often be delayed by following the steps above.

Although everyone loves tasty fast food, things like excess salt, sugars, and fatty foods will speed up the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

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