Written by Jeff Smith
Over the past decade, funding and awareness for Alzheimer’s research has increased hundreds of times over thanks to organizations like The Alzheimer’s Association and the CDC’s Healthy Brain Initiative. We know more about Alzheimer’s than ever before, but unfortunately, a cure for the disease seems to be just beyond our grasp. Yet even as the cure alludes us, Alzheimer's research has discovered several of the precursors and risk factors for Alzheimer’s, making early detection, symptom control, and even prevention possible.
Your Brain and Heart Are Connected
One thing that the long term studies have shown is that as many as 80 percent of those with Alzheimer’s also have cardiovascular disease. Current research suggests that the connection between the two is plaque buildup: plaque in the heart causes cardiovascular disease, plaque in the brain likely causes Alzheimer’s. There is even evidence that suggests that plaque in the brain does not necessarily trigger the symptoms of cognitive decline unless it is accompanied by plaque buildup in the heart.
While it is ideal to begin bolstering heart health as soon as possible in life, it’s never too late to improve it. A medically approved exercise plan has been shown to increase heart health and improve blood flow to the brain which can be directly beneficial to brain cells.
You can also lessen your chance of getting Alzheimer’s by eating a heart healthy diet. Many people believe that a “heart healthy” diet means “bland,” or that the cost of eating well is prohibitively high. We have even heard some mention that there is no point in eating healthy at an advanced age, which is not true – it is never too late to start taking control of your health. We touch on all of those points in our post on Healthy Eating for Seniors.
An Active Brain is a Strong Brain
There is also a substantial body of research that suggests maintaining an active brain can lead to significantly reduced chances of presenting Alzheimer’s symptoms later in life. While it is well accepted that stimulating the brain is a must for individuals that have already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is also a preventative measure to partake in lifetime learning and brain strengthening exercises.
Something as simple as reading a book or doing a daily crossword or sudoku puzzle has been shown to reduce Alzheimer’s risk as we age. There is even research that shows that video games could promote brain health and reduce a some neurological risks. There are even some online games specifically geared towards brain health, and there is quantifiable data that shows marked improvements in brain health.
Stay Active, Stay Healthy.
If our current Alzheimer’s prevention knowledge could be distilled into a simple mantra it would be something like “Stay Active, Stay Healthy”. Alzheimer’s is a disease that preys on individuals that live under-stimulated, stagnant lifestyles. That’s not to say that being healthy and mentally active is a cure-all, or that it is guaranteed to prevent Alzheimer’s later in life. However, it has passed into the realm of medically accepted fact that the effects of the disease can be minimized or prevented through overall healthy living.
American In-Home Care refers qualified Nurses, Home Health Aides, Certified Nursing Assistants, and Companions that specialize in Alzheimer's and Dementia Care and many other services, and can help you and your loved one. Contact us today at 1-844-505-0004 for a free consultation to determine what care options are best for your family.