6 Tips to ​Lower Your Risk of Developing Alzheimer's Disease

Preventing Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a common type of dementia associated with issues concerning an individual’s memory and behavior. Though there are numerous ailments commensurate with old age, Alzheimer's especially can take an enormous toll on the emotional state of the patient, as well as his family and friends. Though most reported cases of Alzheimer's are of those who are 65 years or older, even individuals in their 40s and 50s are susceptible to this disease. The symptoms of AD are progressive and worsen with time to such an extent that they even hinder one’s ability to perform routine tasks. While age and genetics have a significant role to play in the onset of this disease, studies find that certain lifestyle measures are proven useful in preventing Alzheimer's disease.

Here are Six Essential Tips That Can Help You Avoid Alzheimer's:

1. Enjoy an Active Lifestyle

A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that a physical activity program of an additional 142 minutes of exercise per week on an average can improve cognition in adults with subjective and objective memory impairment. The Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation also suggests that physical exercise can lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by almost 50 percent.

Here are Some Exercise Tips You Can Follow to Improve Your Cognitive Health:

Engage in 140-150 Minutes of Cardio and Strength Training Exercises Every Week :

Start off with medium intensity exercises like brisk walking, cycling and swimming. Try to combine cardio with strength training exercises like squats, crunches, lifting light weights, etc. Even leisure and household activities like dancing, cleaning, and gardening count as active time as long as they increase your heart rate.

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Work on Your Balance and Coordination:

Head injury caused due to trauma can be a potential risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. To avoid accidents due to balance and falls, practicing balance and coordination exercises like yoga, Tai Chi, back and side leg raises, etc. can be highly effective.

2. Follow a Healthy Diet 

Many studies point out the importance of a healthy diet in improving cognitive function. A study published by Taylor & Francis Online reports that a Mediterranean diet helps reduce cognitive decline, the progression from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer's disease, and lowers the risk of all-cause mortality in AD patients.

Follow These Dietary Tips to Improve Your Physical and Mental Wellbeing

Increase Your Intake of Antioxidants:

Leafy greens, berries, dark colored fruits and veggies are excellent sources of vitamins and antioxidants that can lower the risk of dementia. Make sure you also sip on two cups of green tea every day to give your system an antioxidant boost and to improve cognitive function.

Increase Your Intake of AntioxidantsAlzheimer's​ Disease

Replace Trans and Saturated Fats With Omega-3 Fats:

Trans and saturated fats are inflammatory in nature and can thereby result in free radical formation in the body, one of the greatest cases of cancer, CVDs and Alzheimer's. Replace these fats with healthy omega-3 fats found in nuts, fish and olive oil. These fats contain DHA that reduces beta-amyloid plaques and thus lowers the risk of cognitive dysfunction.

Regulate Your Blood Sugar Levels:

Foods that are processed, refined, high in sugar and salts can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels that can, in turn, cause inflammatory activity in your brain. To prevent this, make sure you break down your daily meals into 6 small meals that are rich in fiber and low in processed sugar and salts.

3. Maintain Social Connections

Maintain Social Connections Alzheimer's​ Disease

Maintaining active social ties also plays a significant role in preventing dementia and AD. A Lancet Neurology Study reports that an active and socially integrated lifestyle in old age can help fight dementia and AD.

These are Some Productive Ways You Can Enjoy an Active Social Life:

Find a Shared Hobby With Your Partner or Friends:

Whether it is fishing or yoga or art, there are many new and exciting hobbies you can try your hand at, along with your partner and/or your friends and family.

you can enjoy an active social life Alzheimer's​ Disease

Get Involved With a Volunteer Group:

Not only will doing this fuel your philanthropic interests but will also help you bond with like-minded people with whom you can build a strong connection with.

Other Activities:

Other activities like going to movies, picnics, games and museums with your family and friends can also make a positive difference in your life.

4. Stimulate Your Mind

One of the most effective ways to prevent Alzheimer's is to keep your grey matter ticking. Participating in mentally stimulating activities like problem-solving, communication, and thinking are great ways to improve your cognitive health.

These are Some Mentally Stimulating Activities You Should Engage in:

Pick up a New Skill:

From learning a new cuisine to learning a new language, there is a multitude of skills you can aim at developing. Challenge yourself and your capabilities.

Pick up a New Skill Alzheimer's​ Disease

Play Mentally Stimulating Games:

Games like scrabble, crosswords, Sudoku, and other board games also stimulate mental alertness. They act like a workout, but for your brain.

Read Books and Newspapers:

Make sure you also engage in reading books and newspapers. Try questioning yourself about the people in the news and the characters in the books; do further research on topics that intrigue you. Most importantly, don’t allow your mind to be idle.

Read Books and Newspapers Alzheimer's​ Disease

5. Keep Stress at Bay

Studies report that chronic stress is one of the biggest factors responsible for Alzheimer's disease. Keeping a calm state of mind, therefore, is important to shield yourself from the risk of AD.

Following are Some Activities to Help Lower Stress Levels:

Practice Calming Activities:

Activities like yoga, meditation, prayer and deep breathing can work wonders to calm you down and improve your mental and physical state.

Take Time out for Leisure:

Walking your dog, sitting in a park, cycling around the town, listening to your favorite music, basking in the sun - do take time out for the kind of activities that bring you happiness.

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6. Get Proper Sleep

Multiple studies report that lack of sleep or disturbed sleep can increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. On the contrary, an adequate sleep can have a rejuvenating impact on both, your physical and mental health.

Here are Some Tips that Can Help You Sleep Beter:

Follow a Strict Sleep Schedule:

The more streamlined your sleep schedule is, the more in sync you circadian rhythm will be. Try as far as possible to stick to a schedule when it comes to sleeping.

Keep Your Atmosphere Sleep-Friendly:

Make sure the lights are turned out, your bed is comfortable, your room is cool, and there are no disturbances to hinder your sleep. Taking a warm bath infused with lavender essential oils can help slip you into slumber better. Avoid any use of technology, at least, half an hour before sleeping; a bedtime read is a better way to induce sleep instead.

These were some essential tips on Alzheimer's prevention. If your family has a history of AD and you wish to know more about this condition, sehat helps you to research and choose the best neurologist in Bangalore. Remember, prevention is better than cure.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad