Alzheimer’s disease progressively seizes command of an individual’s brain, impacting their memory, cognitive functions, and language abilities. The condition is characterized by the abnormal buildup of proteins that infiltrate brain cells, ultimately leading to their demise.
Despite being the most prevalent form of dementia, the exact causes of Alzheimer’s remain uncertain to researchers. Nevertheless, numerous studies concur that adopting specific lifestyle modifications can significantly diminish the likelihood of developing this disease. Here, we present verified methods to lower your risk of contracting Alzheimer’s.
Assessing Your Risk
Before delving into preventive measures, it is important to identify certain risk factors that are beyond your control. Advanced age is undeniably a significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s, although it should be noted that the disease is not an inevitable consequence of aging.
Genetics also play a role in determining one’s susceptibility, as researchers have identified over 20 genes that may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s. Lastly, gender appears to be a factor, with females being more frequently diagnosed with the disease compared to males.
Nevertheless, it is crucial not to be disheartened by these inherent risks, as there are numerous contributing factors that you can actively manage and control.
Embrace Physical Activity
The significance of physical exercise in combating Alzheimer’s cannot be emphasized enough. Maintaining a consistent exercise regimen can help mitigate several prominent risk factors associated with the development of Alzheimer’s, such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight serves as an excellent deterrent against the disease.
Poor sleep patterns and mental health issues like depression and anxiety can also contribute to the risk of Alzheimer’s. Fortunately, engaging in regular physical activity can help alleviate the effects of these factors as well.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, exercise has the potential to prevent nearly one-third of Alzheimer’s cases. For individuals aged 65 and above, it is recommended to incorporate 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise. It is always advisable to consult with your doctor before initiating a new exercise routine.
Transform Your Eating Habits
Research indicates that the choices you make regarding your diet can either increase or decrease your chances of developing Alzheimer’s.
Adopting a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes the consumption of fish, whole grains, nuts, olive oil, fruits, and vegetables, has been shown to slow the progression of the disease. Conversely, fried foods, sugary drinks, and processed meats counteract the benefits of a healthy diet. It is recommended to avoid these choices, as they can heighten risk factors such as high blood sugar and obesity.
While it is advisable to consume red meat sparingly, there is no need to despair if you occasionally indulge in a steak. Even making partial modifications to your diet by incorporating a healthier variety of foods can help reduce your risk. As stated by Dr. Gad Marshall, the medical director at the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment, “even a partial adherence to such a diet is better than nothing.”
Moderate Your Alcohol Consumption
While there is some evidence suggesting that light alcohol consumption, particularly red wine, may potentially delay certain forms of dementia, several studies indicate a neurological link between heavy drinking and Alzheimer’s.
Given the ambiguity of research findings, it is safest to limit the amount of alcohol you consume.
One of the most significant risks to your susceptibility to Alzheimer’s is smoking. A comprehensive review of 37 research studies reveals that current smokers are 30% more likely to develop dementia and 40% more likely to receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
Although the exact connection between smoking and Alzheimer’s is still unclear, there is no doubt that individuals who smoke moderately to heavily have a considerably higher risk of developing the disease compared to light smokers. The more you smoke, the greater the risk, so it is strongly recommended to quit smoking altogether.