<!–[CDATA[Alzheimer’s disease afflicts nearly 5 million Americans.
While doctors and researchers don’t know for certain who will or won’t develop Alzheimer’s, a number of studies have pinpointed some lifestyle changes that may help reduce your risk.
Lifestyle Changes that Might Help Prevent Alzheimer’s
1. Take care of your heart
Some autopsy studies have found that 80% of individuals with Alzheimer’s also have cardiovascular disease. Researchers suspect that the plaques and tangles in the brain that are indicative of Alzheimer’s may not pose a problem until accompanied by heart disease.
In short, to help prevent Alzheimer’s, take steps to keep your heart healthy.
2. Exercise regularly
Getting 30 minutes of exercise at least three times a week is not just good for your heart. It increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain, directly benefiting brain cells. This may stave off cognitive decline.
3. Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
Research shows regular exercise may not be enough for overall health. Sitting more than six hours a day has been linked to a number of illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease. Both of these may be risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.
Whether you work a desk job or are retired, consider ways you can move more each day.
Take up hobbies that keep you moving. Invest in a treadmill or standing desk. Look for opportunities to walk throughout the day.
4. Maintain healthy blood sugar levels
Researchers have also discovered a potential link between diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Some even call Alzheimer’s “Type 3 Diabetes” because they believe the two illnesses are so closely connected.
Avoid Type 2 diabetes by eating a diet low in processed carbohydrates and sugar. If you already have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar in check may help prevent Alzheimer’s.
5. Eat a healthy diet
The Alzheimer’s Association cites a possible link between a healthy diet and preventing Alzheimer’s. In part, because a healthy diet also reduces other risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
The Alzheimer’s Association suggests the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. Both emphasize vegetables, fruits, and healthy whole grains. The Mediterranean Diet introduces more heart-healthy fats like olive oil and fish oils, rich in Omega-3s and other nutrients.
6. Avoid head trauma
Research shows there may be a link between head trauma earlier in life and Alzheimer’s disease. To protect your head, wear a helmet during activities like skiing, snowboarding or bicycling. Always wear a seatbelt in the car.
Seniors can also reduce their risk of a fall by:
· Ensuring their home is safe
· Getting annual eye exams
· Being aware certain medications may affect their balance
· Exercising regularly to increase agility and balance
7. Get enough sleep
Getting 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night is important. Some research suggests a lack of sleep may contribute to higher levels of beta-amyloid, a sticky protein in the brain that’s been linked to Alzheimer’s.
If you are one of the many seniors who suffer from insomnia, talk with your physician. They may be able to order a sleep study to determine the cause.
8. Stop smoking
One meta-study shows that smokers who are older than 65 have an 80% greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s than people who have never smoked.
If you smoke, this is just one more reason you should quit.
9. Stimulate your brain
Using your mind can help it stay sharp. Take classes. Socialize. Read. Practice a musical instrument. Or learn a new one.
Staying active and socially engaged not only helps you live a more fulfilling life, it may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.
Older adults at Five Star Senior Living have access to a number of exciting classes, programs, and amenities to keep them physically, socially, and mentally active.