Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive deterioration of the brain that starts with the diminishment of short-term memory. As it progresses, cognitive function and language abilities also degenerate. This deterioration progresses to the point where victims can no longer care for themselves. This condition eventually affects the bodily functions which deteriorate and ultimately leads to death.
Alzheimer’s disease strikes the middle-aged and the elderly and has no cure. There has been considerable study conducted on how lifestyle affects the onset of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. These studies have shown associations between various lifestyle factors and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. They do not prove that adopting a particular lifestyle will definitely prevent this disease.
However, these lifestyle changes are highly beneficial to a person’s overall health and prevent many other serious health conditions. Therefore one has nothing to lose and a lot to gain by incorporating these changes into their lives. Three of these are discussed below.
Exercise that stimulates blood flow, such as cardiovascular activities, makes the blood vessels more elastic and reduces the buildup of plaque within them. It also improves heart function. This in turn increases the blood supply to the brain which may lower the risk or slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Diets that promote cardiovascular health may also ward off Alzheimer’s disease. These types of diets limit the intake of saturated fat, sugar, sodium, and red meat. They also stress the consumption of fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts.
Mental and social stimulation
Comparisons made between people of different education levels have shown that those with more education have a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. This is likely due to the fact that these people have a natural inclination to engage in mental activity. In addition, they tend to have jobs that demand a high level of mental engagement.
Those with less education can get the same benefit by engaging in mentally stimulating pastimes. Learning new skills, reading, solving puzzles, or taking courses all serve this purpose. Social activity also has a stimulating effect on the brain. Social activity also improves one’s sense of well-being and improves one’s capacity to cope with stress.
For more information on Alzheimer’s disease and how to plan and prepare for its onset in your family, please contact us.