Can Anything Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease currently affects over 5 million Americans and that number is growing. Can anything be done to prevent this devastating disease? There is no cure for Alzheimer’s at this time. However, if you are concerned about developing Alzheimer’s disease, there is research to suggest that the taking appropriate steps to minimize the following risk factors may be of benefit.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Obesity – especially in middle age – seems to play a part in the development of Alzheimer’s. It is unclear whether a diet heavy in processed foods contributes to the risk of disease or if increased weight causes disease. Evidence shows keeping weight at a healthy level and eating a variety of fresh, healthful foods can be a positive factor promoting brain health.
Conversely, being underweight can also increase one’s risk for the disease. Frailty can be a sign of malnourishment, and some researchers think it can also be a symptom of Alzheimer’s. Maintaining a healthy weight through a nutritious diet may provide the brain with needed nutrients and help prevent disease.
Diabetes is another risk factor. Eating right and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and, subsequently, help prevent Alzheimer’s.
The development of Alzheimer’s has been linked to lower levels of education. While it isn’t always possible (nor practical) to go back to school, it is advisable to exercise your brain. Doing crossword puzzles, Sudoku, attending lectures, and online memory and brain games can be enjoyable ways to keep your mind sharp while warding off decline.
Be heart healthy.
High blood pressure and carotid artery disease can are both risk factors for Alzheimer’s. To help prevent these problems, maintain cardiovascular health with regular exercise, lower cholesterol and keep your blood pressure at healthy levels.
High homocysteine levels have been linked to a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Homocysteine is an amino acid that breaks down the protein we eat, and it is especially high in people who eat a lot of red meat. Reducing the amount of red meat you eat while increasing whole grains and green, leafy vegetables can decrease homocysteine levels. This diet is also good for your heart!
Several studies link depression with Alzheimer’s risk. Talk to your doctor if you have depression; treatment is available. In general, it is wise to limit stress and incorporate plenty of relaxing activities in any schedule to allow one’s self time for joy.
While smoking has been linked to lung disease, heart disease, and more, you may be surprised to learn that it has also been linked to Alzheimer’s. If you needed one more reason to quit, stopping smoking to prevent brain decline may be a great one!
We Are Here To Help
While we all hope for a day when Alzheimer’s no longer takes its toll on our loved ones, we are here to help families who are affected by the disease. At Parc Provence, our mission is to provide the very best memory care for people who have been affected by Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. We offer proven therapies, engaging activities, and more in an assisted living community that is specially designed to feel like home. Contact us today to learn more.