How can you slow the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia?
Can you slow the onset of Alzheimer’s? About every minute, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s Disease. It is one of the leading causes of death in America. According to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s, researchers have found that engaging in mentally stimulating life tasks can slow the disease’s onset. Evidence indicates that people can immensely reduce their risk of cognitive decline by adding essential lifestyle habits to their daily activities. The earlier you or your loved one develops some habits covered below, the better it is for your brain. Combining these habits can achieve a much more intense benefit for the brain and body. There is no such thing as too early or too late to fortify your brain and body. Below are some beneficial practices to start with now.
Break a sweat and help your heart lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia
Participate in regular exercise that elevates your heart rate. This will increases blood flow in your brain and body, improving oxygenation throughout your cells. Several studies have found a close link between physical activity and reduced cognitive decline risk, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Evidence shows that cardiovascular disease and stroke risk factors, including high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, negatively impact your mental health. If you take care of your heart, your brain will follow.
Hit the books and stump yourself to prevent cognitive decline
Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia is significantly reduced by formal education at any stage. For example, taking a class at your local college, community center, or online can accomplish this goal. Challenge and activate your mind with activities like building a piece of furniture or completing a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic and play strategic games like chess. Challenging your mind has many short and long-term benefits for your brain.
Toss the pack and get to bed to lower the risk of memory loss
Evidence shows that smoking increases the chances of experiencing high levels of mental degradation. Not getting enough restful sleep because of conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea has been linked to problems with memory and thinking. More often than not, a lack of restful sleep can stem from nicotine usage. Stopping this bad habit can reduce that risk for those who have not smoked.
Fuel up right and Take care of your mental health
If you are looking to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia, Eat a healthy and balanced diet to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Despite limited diet and cognitive function research, specific diets, including Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH, can reduce your risk. Some studies link depression and anxiety directly with the foods you eat. Depression increases the risk of mental degradation, and the best thing to do is seek medical treatment for depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns. Also, try to manage stress triggers around you. Staying engaged socially may support brain health and curb triggers for depression and anxiety. Pursuing social activities that are meaningful to you and finding ways to integrate with your local community can help with this. If you enjoy singing, joining a local choir or helping at an after-school program can bring you a lot of fulfillment. If you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. Or share activities with friends and family.
How do you stimulate your mind, use it or lose it
According to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s, researchers have found that engaging in mentally stimulating tasks early in life can slow the onset of the disease. The earlier you or your loved one develops habits such as reading, learning, and puzzle-solving, the better it is for your brain and the worse it is for Alzheimer’s disease. The gold standard of brain games is the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. The famed Sunday Crossword is generally at the same difficulty level as Thursday. The puzzle is designed to become more difficult as the week progresses, culminating with the most challenging puzzle on Saturday.
For a more interactive puzzle experience, the website Lumosity offers brain training exercises that users can personalize. The brain games are available on the web and Apple and Android phones. One unique feature is that many routines focus on paying attention to good information while ignoring less valuable data. Many puzzle books are available for old-school types; don’t forget jigsaw puzzles. Not only will the puzzles help build memory and keep neurons firing, but they are a fun activity and a bonding experience in that the whole family can participate together.
While highly educated individuals can and do get Alzheimer’s, lifelong learning may be the key to delaying the onset. Play games, attend lectures, and be sure to keep your and your loved one’s minds challenged. For more suggestions, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website.