Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive form of dementia, affects nearly 6.5 million individuals in the United States and millions across the world
This neurodegenerative disease primarily impacts the brain regions responsible for thought, memory, and language. It typically begins with mild memory loss and can progress to the point where individuals lose their ability to engage in conversations and respond to their surroundings.
While memory problems serve as an initial warning sign, it’s important to note that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of the aging process. Scientists are actively researching its causes and developing effective treatments.
Healthy lifestyle choices
Moreover, emerging evidence suggests that adopting healthy behaviors can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Promoting healthy aging and minimizing the risk of dementia.
Another goal is addressing Alzheimer’s Disease is emphasizing health behaviors such as increasing physical activity, following a nutritious diet, and abstaining from smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
Study by the CDC: Modifiable risk factors
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explored eight risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease among adults aged 45 and older. These risk factors include high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes, depression, smoking, hearing loss, and binge drinking.
The study revealed the following findings:
- Nearly half of the adults either had high blood pressure or did not meet the recommended aerobic physical activity guidelines.
- Adults experiencing subjective cognitive decline (worsening confusion or memory loss in the previous year) were more likely to report at least four risk factors compared to those without cognitive decline.
- Among adults without any risk factors, only 3.9% reported subjective cognitive decline, while 25.0% of those with at least four risk factors reported cognitive decline.
- Certain modifiable risk factors were more prevalent among African American, Hispanic, and American Indian or Alaska Native populations compared to other races and ethnicities.
Furthermore, a University of Minnesota study attributed 41% of dementia cases to 12 modifiable lifestyle factors. Among these factors, obesity, high blood pressure, and lack of exercise contributed the most to the risk of dementia.
By addressing these modifiable risk factors, it may be possible to reduce the prevalence of dementia.
Strategies to Lower Your Alzheimer’s Risk
You can play an active role in reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s by making healthy lifestyle choices. Here are some steps you can take:
- Prevent and manage high blood pressure: It is crucial to keep your blood pressure under control, as millions of American adults currently have high blood pressure that is not properly managed.
- Manage blood sugar: If you have diabetes, learn effective strategies to manage your blood sugar levels.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Embrace a healthy eating pattern and engage in regular physical activity to achieve and sustain a healthy weight.
- Be physically active: Engaging in regular physical activity can improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of depression and anxiety, and promote better sleep.
- Quit smoking: By quitting smoking, you not only enhance brain health but also reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses.
- Avoid excessive drinking: If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
- Prevent and correct hearing loss: