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Is Alzheimer’s Disease Preventable?
The number of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease is high and projected to rise. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, as many as 6.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. This number could reach 12.7 million by 2050. The increase in cases is mostly due to people living longer and our lack of a cure.
In most cases, Alzheimer’s likely develops from a combination of factors, including age, genetics, lifestyle, environment, and coexisting medical conditions. Some factors, such as age and genetics, can’t be changed. Other factors can, such as lifestyle, exercise, and high blood pressure.
Even though Alzheimer’s can’t be fully prevented, promising research shows that there are ways to reduce your risk of developing it by making better lifestyle choices. Here are six routines for a brain-healthy lifestyle that you can incorporate into your life.
According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, you can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50% by exercising regularly. Even if you have started to experience cognitive deterioration, studies have shown that regular exercise can slow the progression. Your brain cells may benefit from the increased flow of blood and oxygen due to physical activity.
Humans are highly social creatures. Our brains need social interaction. Regularly socializing with others will keep your brain engaged and may protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Find ways to socialize by volunteering, taking a class, or spending time with friends and family.
Evidence shows that a heart-healthy diet can help protect your brain. A heart-healthy diet entails limiting sugar and saturated fats. Eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains also helps. Two diets that are believed to be beneficial for lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s are the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet.
Studies have shown that mental exercise can reduce your chance of developing Alzheimer’s by up to 70%. Try to spend at least 20 minutes about three times each week exercising your mind. Some excellent mental activities include writing, reading, doing puzzles, and playing games.
New research suggests that inadequate sleep is a possible contributor to Alzheimer’s. Poor sleep is linked to increased levels of beta-amyloid, a sticky brain-clogging protein, that further interferes with sleep, especially with the deep sleep necessary for memory formation. Uninterrupted sleep is also important for flushing out brain toxins.
Chronic stress takes a heavy toll on the brain by hampering nerve cell growth, shrinking key memory areas, and increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Find stress-reducing activities to engage in, such as meditation, yoga, massage, and deep breathing.
Even though there is no foolproof way of preventing Alzheimer’s, you can help mitigate brain deterioration by practicing these healthy living practices. Our law firm is dedicated to keeping you informed of issues that affect seniors who may be experiencing declining health. We help you and your loved ones prepare for potential long-term medical expenses and the need to transition to in-home care, assisted living care, or nursing facility care.
This article offers a summary of aspects of estate planning and elder law. It is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact our Houston office today at (713) 582-5088 or schedule a consultation.