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Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. According to the national institute on aging, Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that is both irreversible and progressive. Over time a person suffering from the disease will lose memory skills and cognitive skills, will eventually lose the ability to carry out simple tasks and may struggle with speech and normal bodily functions. The risk for Alzheimer’s disease increases with age but it is not a normal part of aging. Cognitive decline should always be discussed with medical providers.
Although there is not a definitive known cause of Alzheimer’s Disease, scientists believe it is probably caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Why Alzheimer’s mainly affects adults over 65 is unknown, but research indicates that age-related changes in the brain such as atrophy, inflammation, vascular damage, etc may contribute to Alzheimer’s damage of the brain.
How does one maintain a healthy brain?
- Physical Exercise increases blood flow throughout the body. We often think of exercise as important for cardiovascular health, and that is true, but it also pumps blood to the brain. Exercise also releases chemicals in the brain that can protect it.
- Cognitive Exercise and stimulation may help preserve memory and cognitive skills. Reading, writing, playing games, doing puzzles, etc are good activities to promote brain function. A study done in France found that people who retired at age 65 were 14% less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s than those who retired at age 60. In other words, keep using your brain and challenging it.
- Protect your heart: Unhealthy habits such as smoking and a diet high in saturated fats may reduce brain volume.
- Protect your head: Research shows that people who have head injuries/brain injuries are more likely to develop dementia, even injuries from childhood. Always wear proper safety gear and follow safety guidelines to prevent injuries and concussions.
- A Balanced diet is important for avoiding Alzheimer’s disease, as well as many other diseases. Don’t just add a vegetable and call it a day. Consider adopting a diet that meets your body’s specific needs. Studies have indicated that turmeric may promote brain vitality and help prevent Alzheimer’s.
It is dangerous to put off healthy practices for now, because we think we have time or we aren’t that old yet. It is never too early to prepare for old age. We continue to talk about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with the intention that you would become more familiar with its symptoms, and consider adopting lifestyle habits that promote healthier brain and cognitive function for now and for your future.
DISCLAIMER: This article contains information that is intended to help the readers be better informed regarding exercise and health care. It is presented as general advice on health care. Always consult your doctor for your individual needs. Before beginning any new exercise program it is recommended that you seek medical advice from your personal physician. This article is not intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of a licensed physician. The reader should consult with their doctor in any matters relating to his/her health.