Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. It affects one in nine people aged 65 or older, and it can be diagnosed as early as age 45. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that gradually destroys memory and thinking skills. Eventually, individuals with advanced Alzheimer’s may no longer recognize loved ones or understand language. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is only 7 to 10 years. Although it’s not guaranteed to prevent Alzheimer’s, this article will give you some easy ways to reduce the risk of developing the disease.
Eat A Healthy Diet
A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and nuts is ideal for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s. Deficiency in certain B vitamins has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. One study suggests that people with a high intake of vitamin E from foods such as green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who got their vitamin E from cereals and pasta. Foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, can also help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by strengthening cell-to-cell communication and supporting brain function.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight as you age greatly increases the risk of dementia. A study found that being slightly overweight at age 40 is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease even decades later. However, people who were obese at age 40 were up to 85 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s by their 70th birthday than those with a healthy weight. Obesity speeds up disease progression and cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s. This is because excess fat promotes inflammation within the body, linked closely with Alzheimer’s disease.
Exercising regularly can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. A study found that individuals who exercised at least once a week were half as likely to develop dementia. Moderate physical activity has many benefits, including reducing the risk of heart attack, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and stroke, all of which are risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Encourage your loved ones to exercise regularly by taking them for a walk, swimming at the local pool, or enrolling them in an activity class at the senior center.
Smoking greatly increases the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s because it damages cells and blood vessels in your brain and drastically reduces circulation to your brain. Smoking also changes the chemical balance within the brain that controls memory and learning functions. According to a study published in The American Journal Of Medicine, people who smoke are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than non-smokers, which concluded that smoking cigarettes accelerates memory loss and is associated with an increased risk of early onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Exercise Your Brain
Cognitive training is an exercise for the brain that involves practicing skills essential to everyday living, such as decision-making and problem-solving. A study showed that cognitive activity might be protective against Alzheimer’s disease by increasing the thickness of your cortex, which acts as a cushion in your brain, protecting you from injury to your brain. This suggests that exercising your brain by learning a new language or musical instrument may help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Cut Down On Alcohol Consumption
In one study, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol increases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers controlled for other factors such as smoking and education level. They found that consuming more than 30 grams of alcohol a day increased the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by double. It is still unclear whether light to moderate drinking reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, so it’s best to follow national guidelines on safe consumption levels if you are concerned about your dementia risk.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects over 5 million Americans, with an estimated 7.1 million cases by 2025. Alzheimer’s usually starts slowly and worsens progressively, leading to severe cognitive impairment in the late stages of the disease. Although scientists are still unsure how to prevent it, there are still some things that you can do in your daily life to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.