Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia worldwide and causes problems with memory and other cognitive abilities. Afflicting 5.5 million Americans age 65 and older, this progressive disease renders those in the late stages incapable of carrying on a conversation or responding to their environment. Without preventative measures, this number is expected to rise significantly as the population ages. Experts agree that Alzheimer’s, like many other chronic conditions, most likely develops as a product of complex interactions between factors such as age, genetics, co-existing medical conditions, environment, and lifestyle. While scientists have yet to discover a surefire way to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, there is currently “encouraging but inconclusive” evidence supporting the following lifestyle interventions in possibly helping to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s-related dementia:
- Increased physical activity (30 min. of moderately vigorous aerobic exercise 3-4x/week)
- Blood pressure control (for those with hypertension)
- Cognitive training (structured activities geared to enhance memory, reasoning, and information processing)
There is also research suggesting the role of a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, in lowering the risk for cognitive decline and dementia.
Although the current state of research is still inconclusive, healthy lifestyle choices can improve your overall health and possibly protect your brain.
For more information on Alzheimer’s disease prevention and brain health, call us today to book an appointment with our neurologist, Dr. Tom Pitts.