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How Can You Reduce Your Risk Of Alzheimer’s?

Posted on June 1, 2023 at 3:26 PM by The Meadows Senior Community

With June being Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, it’s a great opportunity to take some time to learn more about Alzheimer's disease and how you can take action.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of dementia that impacts parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. According to the Alzheimer's Association, more than 6 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's. While the answer to Alzheimer's prevention does not have a definitive answer as of yet, research has shown that there are steps that can be taken to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's. 

Alzheimer's FAQs

What's the difference between Alzheimer’s vs dementia?

Dementia is a general term for cognitive decline, while Alzheimer's is a specific brain disease that is a type of dementia. 

Is Alzheimer's hereditary?

In a vast majority of cases, Alzheimer's is not inherited, but other genes you inherit from your parents can add to the risk factors associated with Alzheimer's disease. 

What are Alzheimer's disease symptoms?

Common symptoms of Alzheimer's disease can include:

  • Increasing confusion and memory loss 
  • Frequent wandering and getting lost
  • Mood and personality changes  
    • Including increased agitation, impulsive behavior, and withdrawal from social activities  
  • Trouble speaking, reading, and/or writing 

What are the stages of Alzheimer's?

Alzheimer's disease typically progresses slowly in three stages: early-stage Alzheimer's, middle-stage Alzheimer's, and late-stage Alzheimer's (can also be referred to as mild, moderate, and severe). The speed of the progression and associated symptoms can vary widely from person to person.  

Is Alzheimer’s curable? How is Alzheimer’s treated?

While there is currently no known cure for Alzheimer's, cognitive-enhancing medications, self-care, and disease management strategies can be used to treat Alzheimer's by helping mitigate symptoms.   

Ways To Reduce Your Risk Factors For Alzheimer’s Disease 

There is no one, definite answer to the question of how to prevent Alzheimer's, however, knowing the risk factors for Alzheimer's and working to reduce them can reduce, delay, or prevent Alzheimer's and its associated symptoms. 

Physical Exercise & Diet

By eating healthy and staying active, you work to reduce a wide variety of risk factors associated with Alzheimer's. This includes reducing risk factors like obesity and hypertension/high cholesterol while also improving sleep and mood. 

Decreasing Your Cerebrovascular Risk Factors

Cerebrovascular disease is a term for conditions that affect blood flow to your brain. Cerebrovascular conditions include diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart and blood vessel diseases. Eating healthy, staying active, avoiding smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption can all help reduce your risk of cerebrovascular diseases and their impact on brain health and healthy aging.

Keeping Your Brain Active

Several studies have shown that keeping your brain stimulated with socialization and mental exercise may lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's. Mental exercises can include activities designed to enhance memory, reasoning, and speed of processing. Additionally, these steps can help to reduce depression and anxiety, which can also impact our health as we age. 

Taking Extra Steps To Prevent Head Trauma 

Studies have shown a strong link between the future risk of cognitive decline and head injuries. By taking steps to protect your head (such wearing as a seatbelt, reducing fall risks, and wearing a helmet while biking) you can reduce your risk of brain injuries associated with cognitive decline. 

Recognizing Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s & Getting An Alzheimer’s Diagnosis 

If you believe that you or a loved one may be experiencing early symptoms of Alzheimer's, it’s important to discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider as soon as possible. If your loved one has already been diagnosed and undergone Alzheimer's disease treatments but it’s becoming increasingly unsafe for them to live alone (or with an in-home caregiver), it may be time to consider assisted living for professional memory care. 

Making the lifestyle changes needed to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's provide health benefits beyond preventing Alzheimer's. Making these lifestyle changes improves your overall health and reduces your risk of a wide range of other health conditions to help promote healthy and active aging! Learn more about assisted living at The Meadows or diagnosis and treatment services at Iowa Specialty Hospitals & Clinics

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