Imagine hearing the words “She’s got Alzheimer’s”. By the year 2050, predictions are that 13.5 million Americans will be suffering from Alzheimer’s, losing their independence and bankrupting the healthcare system. Anyway we can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s can reap huge benefits for aging Americans.
Scientists have been rushing to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and new drugs have been developed which have been moderately successful. But scientists have also identified certain risks and behaviors that make one more likely to develop the disease.
Alzheimer’s risks you can control or treat
– Smokers over the age of 65 increase their risk of Alzheimer’s by 79%.
– Obesity in mid-life makes you 3 1/2 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
– Diabetes makes you twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
– Chronic stress can quadruple your risk along with heart disease and hypertension,
poor quality or insufficient sleep, sedentary lifestyle, kidney and liver disease, alcohol and drug us and a head injury.
Develop a healthier lifestyle to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
– Follow a Mediterranean diet with foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, cold water fish, nuts, whole grains and abundant fruits and vegetables. Enjoy an occasional glass of red wine and/or a small piece of dark chocolate.
– Maintain consistent levels of blood sugar and insulin levels.
– Elevated cholesterol increases your risk. Have your cholesterol checked and if high have your doctor prescribe a diet and medication id necessary.
– Exercise pumps up your brain and aids cognitive health. Walking, gardening, cleaning the house, and taking the stairs keep the brain healthy.
– Drink tea daily. Green, white and oolong tea are beneficial. Drinking 2-4 cups a day is particularly brain healthy. Coffee in moderation is OK.
– Consider taking a supplement such as folic acid, vitamin B12, and fish oils. Talk with your doctor about drug interactions.
Exercise and build up your brain
– Set aside time each day to learn something new. Read a book, play a musical instrument, learn a new language, or work on the computer.
– Practice memorization. You can actually strengthen your memory by memorizing numbers, poetry and songs.
– Solve riddles and puzzles. Play cards or games.
– Keep a journal about your experiences.
– Create new brain pathways…learn a new dance such as ballroom or line dancing, or a
new sport. Vary your daily routine.
– Get regular exercise such as walking.
It is never too early or too late to protect yourself from Alzheimer’s. A healthy diet, healthy lifestyle, exercise, and mental stimulation will make you feel better and keep your brain working longer and stronger.
Today Show NBC