ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — By the time someone is 65 years old, there is a ten percent chance that they will develop Alzheimer’s disease. By the time they reach 85, their chances jump to 50 percent. But research is showing that there are certain healthy habits you can take up now to reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s.
Genetics is not the only factor when it comes to Alzheimer’s.
“Non-genetic factors are even more important.” Gary Small, MD at UCLA tells Ivanhoe.
Dr. Small says that we are more in control than we think when it comes to protecting our brain health.
One thing that we can do to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s is be socially engaged. You don’t need to be the life of the party, but you should connect regularly with family and friends. Also try volunteering or joining a social group to find people that have the same interests as you.
Pump up your brain by building up muscle. Regular physical exercise can also reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 50 percent.
“You don’t have to become a tri-athlete. Just twenty minutes a day of brisk walking is associated with a lower risk for Alzheimer’s.” Dr. Small explained.
And don’t just exercise your body. Also give your mind a good workout. A study from the National Institutes of Health found that older adults who did as few as ten sessions of mental training continued to improve their cognitive functioning for daily activities ten years later. So try learning a new language or filling out a crossword puzzle for a little mental simulation.
Eating healthy, getting more sleep and relaxing more are other things you can do to reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s. And a little bit of good news; a recent study from the University of Michigan found that the rate of cases for dementia has actually been going down since the past decade. The rate for adults 65 and older fell just below ten percent in 2012 compared to 11.6 percent in 2000.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
TIPS TO DELAY ALZHEIMER’S
BACKGROUND: Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that affects mental functions and memory of 5 million Americans each year. The early symptoms are confusion and difficulty remembering, but as the disease progresses, personality traits may change and important details are forgotten. The death and degeneration of brain cells are the reason for this disease. There currently isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are several medications that can manage this disease and temporarily improve symptoms. Changes in the brain associated with this disease can affect the following:
- Memory Loss – affecting the ability to function at work and at home.
- Thinking and Reasoning – enabling them to recognize and deal with numbers. Multitasking may also be challenging from managing finances, balancing checkbooks and paying bills on time.
- Managing Judgements and Decisions – dealing with everyday problems, such as food burning on the stove or unexpected driving situations, becomes increasingly challenging.
- Planning and Performing Familiar Tasks – struggling with activities that require sequential steps, such as planning and cooking a meal or playing a favorite game. And, with advanced Alzheimer’s, basic tasks such as dressing and bathing may be forgotten.
- Changes in Personality and Behavior – such as depression, social withdrawal, mood swings, irritability and aggressiveness, distrust in other and changes in sleeping habit
PREVENTIONS: There’s a 10% chance of developing this disease at the age of 65 and a 50% chance once a person hits 85. But there are some non-genetic factors Dr. Small says can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s:
- Social engagement. Be sure to connect regularly with friends and family, or try joining a social group or volunteering; anything where socializing with other people is present.
- Build up muscle. Regular physical exercise can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 50%.
- Give your mind a good workout. Try learning a new language, fill out a crossword or complete a Sudoku game. Exercising the brain correlates with improved cognitive function.
- Eat healthy, make sure you get enough sleep and remember to relax.
MEDITERRANEAN DIET: The Mediterranean diet has been popularly known as one that reduces dementia, Alzheimer’s diseases, heart and vascular diseases, as well as improving cognition. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish, and uses olive oil as the primary cooking fat.
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