What’s lobe got to do with it? 7 ways to avoid Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s affects over 47 million people worldwide, including more than 5 million in the United States alone—and chances are, you know someone that has suffered from this epidemic. Characterized by memory loss that worsens over time, Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that can become serious enough to interfere with daily tasks.
Some other signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s include difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, trouble understanding visual images and distances, and confusion with time or place. People suffering with this disease also tend to lose things, have poor judgment and withdraw from social activities. And while we may think that Alzheimer’s only happens to the elderly—the fact is that age is only a major risk factor; Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging.
Did you know that over 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have early-onset Alzheimer’s? It’s true. And while Alzheimer’s cannot currently be cured, prevented or slowed, you can reduce your risk of cognitive decline, which is defined as deterioration of memory that does not interfere with daily life (and is, to a certain extent, a normal part of aging).
Here’s a few things you should remember to do so that you can keep on remembering!
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, eating a healthy diet lower in fat and higher in fruits and veggies can contribute to lowering your risk of cognitive decline. Changing your eating habits can not only help your brain, but also lower your risk of other lifestyle diseases like Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
Any type of brain injury can increase your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Always buckle up, watch your step, and wear a helmet when riding a bike or playing contact sports.
By getting regular exercise, you’re not only doing your body a favor by staying in shape, but also your brain! When you elevate your heart rate, the blood flow increases to your body and brain, which is good for reducing your risk of cognitive decline and high blood pressure. That’s like a BOGO deal!
Train your brain
Playing games that require strategic thinking, or completing jigsaw puzzles or even building furniture can be good for your noggin. By challenging your brain, you may be keeping memory loss at bay. And hitting the books can be helpful, too—taking a class at your local community college or center can help keep your cognitive function in tip-top shape. And learning new things is always a plus!
No butts about it
It’s no secret that smoking is bad for you and can result in a laundry list of grievous (and often fatal) diseases and ailments. It’s also bad for your cognitive functioning; according to the Alzheimer’s Association, evidence shows that quitting smoking can reduce your risk of cognitive decline comparable to those who have not smoked.
If you’ve ever had a sleepless night, you probably noticed feeling a little “out of it” the next day, right? Whether you suffer from insomnia, sleep apnea, or tend to have a lot of all-night study sessions—not getting enough sleep can negatively impact your brain power. So go ahead and count those sheep!
Spread those wings, social butterfly
Whether you enjoy getting brunch with your friends or spending a weekend volunteering for your favorite animal shelter or community programs, staying socially active can help improve brain health—it’s a win-win for the community and it can boost your chances of fighting cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.