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7 Lifestyle Changes To Lower The Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease

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21st September is observed as World Alzeimer’s Day every year with the aim to raise awareness about the condition and highlight the issues faced by the people suffering from dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive and irreversible disease of the brain that leads to memory loss, affects thinking ability and interferes with the ability to carry out simple day to day tasks, in advanced stages. Even though the disease mostly affects people in their old age, Alzheimer’s disease is not a part of the natural ageing process. Researchers are not sure why some people get it and others don’t. But they have found that the symptoms are caused by nerve damage. 

According to a research study published in the Indian Journal Of Medical Research[1], around 36 million people have dementia all over the world and Alzheimer’s disease accounts to 50-75% of all dementias. It is expected that by the year 2050,  the number of cases of Alzheimer’s will increase threefold[1]. So this World Alzheimer’s Day, let’s learn a bit about some of the common lifestyle changes that can lower your risk of suffering from AD.

7 Lifestyle Changes To Lower The Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease

It is suggested that the same factors that put you at risk of heart disease may increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. These include sedentary lifestyle, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and uncontrolled type 2 diabetes.  So here are some lifestyle changes to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

1. Add berries to your diet

Adding berries in diet is good for overall health, including the brain. Berries can lower the risk of brain damage and improve cognitive function[2]. Delicious berries are great for your brain health as these are rich in antioxidants called anthocyanosides that fight memory impairment. Having berry fruits as a snack or in the form of  smoothies on a regular basis can be of great help. So the next time you go shopping, fill your basket with berries such as blueberries, strawberries, gooseberries, mulberries and blackberries.

**Consult India’s best doctors and nutritionists here***

2. Have omega-3 fatty foods

Oxidative stress and inflammation are one of the key factors that contribute to aging and the development of age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Omega-3s are the good fatty acids your body needs to fight inflammation and improve your cognitive function. Studies[3] have found that people who consume higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their daily diet have a lower chance of getting Alzheimer’s. These fats are found in fish like salmon and tuna. Vegetarians can reap its benefits in the form of pills as omega-3 supplements are easily available in the market.

3 . Say no to alcohol and smoking

Regular smoking and high levels of alcohol can adversely affect your mental health, impair your cognitive function and make you vulnerable to not only Alzheimer’s but many other psychological problems. If alcohol is a part of your lifestyle, it is best to cut down on your alcohol consumption and hold your drinks for longer. Choose red wine since its high antioxidant protects brain cells from the toxic effects. If you smoke, then it’s high time to kick the butt as it not only increases your risk of various health problems but also puts people close to you in danger!

4 . Keep your blood pressure and diabetes in check

High blood pressure is closely related to Alzheimer’s. Several studies have reported that blood pressure is increased in victims of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) decades before the onset of the disease[4]. But keeping your worries and the salty dishes away, you can cut down high blood pressure risk. Drink lots of water and keep track of your blood pressure to lower your risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s.  If you have diabetes, make sure you stick to your diet and medications.

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5. Stay physically active

Exercise is that one activity that fits all. Around 30-60 minutes of daily cardio exercise or aerobic workout can keep your flow of hormones active and in the right direction. Being physically active can help improve the blood circulation and also boost your mental health. This can help you to stay fit both physically and mentally as you grow old.  It keeps you fit and away from various health risks while also reducing your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease.

6. Boost your mental health

Live a mentally stimulating life. There are tons of ways to keep your brain active and functioning fine but choose the one that makes you happy. Some of the ways to boost your brain includes reading, solving puzzles, learning a musical instrument, origami, taking different courses and learning new languages. These activities can help you to train your brain to be more fit and boost your cognitive function.There are also ‘brain training’ interventions which include computer games that improve the cognitive functioning of the brain.

7. Have a positive social circle

Although the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not known, it is believed to be caused due to various complex events that happen in the brain which occur with age. Also, one positive way to keep your brain stress-free and calm is to be happy and surrounded by people you like. Be social and maintain good relations with your friends and families. A healthy support system around us builds our resilience to psychological problems. Stay close to your support system and be at peace with yourself.

Spread this word to everyone you know by sharing the article with them personally. Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry!

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)

Recommended Reads:

Do Not Forget:6 Alzheimer’s Basics You Must Know

 The Need For Preventive Health Checkups For The Elderly

References:

1. Chandra SR. Alzheimer’s disease: An alternative approach. Indian J Med Res. 2017 Jun;145(6):723-729.

2. Subash S, Essa MM, Al-Adawi S, Memon MA, Manivasagam T, Akbar M. Neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases. Neural Regen Res. 2014 Aug 15;9(16):1557-66.

3. Canhada S, Castro K, Perry IS, Luft VC. Omega-3 fatty acids’ supplementation in Alzheimer’s disease: A systematic review. Nutr Neurosci. 2018 Oct;21(8):529-538. 

4. Gabin JM, Tambs K, Saltvedt I, Sund E, Holmen J. Association between blood pressure and Alzheimer disease measured up to 27 years prior to diagnosis: the HUNT Study. Alzheimers Res Ther. 2017 May 31;9(1):37.

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