“Regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, quality sleep, stress management, and quitting smoking are all the various strategies to delaying the onset of the Alzheimer’s disease”.
Growing old comes with a lot of health thinking and worries. Most people do worry about their risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, while some worry about the health of their bones to avoid using a walking stick. At times, they tend to carry out research on their family’s history to check for any genetic risks. This step is really good, that is, being health-conscious. Research even stated that over 5.5 million Americans between the ages of 60-65 and even older lives with Alzheimer’s disease. This figure is said to increase in years to come unless preventive strategies or means of delaying this condition are found.
Over the years, many kinds of research have been carried out, and more are still ongoing. Still, no tangible result has been provided as proof of preventing or delaying dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease. But come to think of it, when talking about the brain here, we know that as we grow old, certain changes in the brain begin to occur. These stage of early brain changes serves as a good time and opportunity to prevent or delay the effects of dementia.
However, research provides certain interventions (strategies) that will aid in preventing or delaying the effects of this disease in people. Still, there’s also a probability that most persons will need additional treatments based on their risk factors. Today we’ll have a close look at some steps you can take to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Before that, let’s have a quick look at what Alzheimer’s disease entails, its causes and its symptoms.
What Exactly is The Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder related to memory loss, thinking and behaviour. This disease slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Not forgetting the fact that it also alters your ability to carry out simple tasks.
What Causes Alzheimer’s?
The brain cells responsible for memory, language, and movement function like tiny factories. They take in supplies, generate energy, and construct equipment. They must coordinate their processes and work together to perform these tasks. This requires large amounts of fuel and oxygen to function properly. Scientists believe that Alzheimer’s disease results from the breakdown of these cell factories. Damaged cells can’t perform these essential functions, and eventually, they will die.
Early-stage Alzheimer’s begins with forgetfulness and confusion and may be misdiagnosed as normal ageing. As the disease progresses, it affects brain areas that control language, reasoning, sensory processing, and conscious thought. In this stage, the person may have trouble carrying out daily tasks and be totally reliant on caregivers. Late-stage Alzheimer’s patients have significant difficulty communicating, have difficulty performing daily activities, and maybe in bed most of the time.
What Are The Possible Risk factors Of Alzheimer’s Disease?
The risk factors for the Alzheimer’s disease include;
- Old age
- Family history of the disease
- Lifestyle factors related to cardiovascular diseases
- Down syndrome
- Sustained head injuries
- Head trauma
What are the Common Symptoms of the Alzheimer’s Disease?
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease gradually develop over time and progress into being severe. This adversely affects the normal functioning of the brain. The first notable sign of Alzheimer’s disease is minor memory issues. It could be forgetting your daily tasks, recent conversations or even events you attended. You might even forget the names of your pets at times. Without any preventive measures to slow down the effects of this disease, it gradually develops. At this point, your memory issues move to a worse level while further symptoms sprout up. Symptoms like;
- Difficulty in making decisions difficult with speech and language
- Difficulty sleeping
- Frequent mood change
- Difficulty moving around without assistance
- Weight loss
How Can I Prevent The Alzheimer’s Disease?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the answer to whether Alzheimer’s disease is preventable is still unknown. Reversing the damages it poses isn’t possible, and suppressing the effects when already hit may be more difficult. But as stated at the beginning of this article, when you start noticing certain changes in your brain functioning, you can incorporate the following strategies and get the odds in your favour this time.
5 Proven Ways To Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
1. Exercise More
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. It strengthens the seven pillars of the brain and prevents memory loss and cognitive decline.
In addition, the benefits of exercise extend beyond the physical side. When you carry out an exercise, the brain receives oxygen, which prevents the buildup of amyloid plaques. Exercise has a beneficial impact on brain structure and cognition, and memory. Aerobic exercise can also help prevent dementia by stabilizing the brain against memory loss. Whether you are a walker, jogger, or cyclist, regular exercise is good for you and the brain.
Physical activity improves cognitive function, and exercise reduces adverse psychiatric symptoms. Physical activity has also been shown to increase selective attention in older people. While weight training requires attention to muscle movements, walking also requires attention to coordination and navigational skills. Physical activity is a powerful preventative measure, and the benefits of exercise are well worth the risks.
2. Always Eat a Healthy Diet
Researchers have concluded that eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. According to the MIND diet, what you eat profoundly affects both your heart and brain health. A study conducted at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago suggests that following this diet may cut the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 53 percent. People who followed the MIND diet “moderately” or better reduced their risk by about one-third.
Also, eating a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E may also help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin E has been shown to protect brain cells from free radicals. Vitamin E also helps reduce inflammation and is a powerful antioxidant. A diet rich in antioxidants may increase brain proteins that protect cells from damage. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin B12 may be associated with dementia. Supplementing with vitamin B12 can reverse these symptoms.
3. Always Have Quality Sleep
Healthy sleep habits may prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. According to a study, a good night’s sleep helps the brain flush out harmful proteins that can cause dementia. This is important because circadian rhythms play a crucial role in this process. When these rhythms are in sync, the body’s immune system can flush out the proteins.
There are two main stages of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM). Deep sleep helps us feel rested when we wake up and is crucial to brain health. This sleep phase causes the body’s temperature to drop and the brain to produce rhythmic electrical waves. The brain also has a higher concentration of amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease. During this stage of sleep, the brain sloughs off proteins that are thought to cause the disease. These proteins include beta-amyloid, which builds up in the brain, and tau, which forms toxic tangles in brain cells.
4. Manage Your Stress
Research suggests that highly stressed people have twice the risk of developing early Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment, as high cortisol levels have also been linked to the disease. Therefore, learning how to manage stress is important for your overall health.
First, stress can be unpredictable. To reduce it, try to focus on predictable things. Routine helps us develop and fights stress. Another way to combat stress is by getting plenty of sleep. Stress causes poor sleep. Not getting enough sleep will only make your condition worse. To combat stress, learn to schedule time for relaxing activities and prioritize fun.
Another way to reduce stress is to engage in a hobby. Many people find that engaging in arts and crafts helps them feel more comfortable. Try your hand at knitting or puzzles, or watch your favourite movie. Writing poetry or reading a book can help you relieve stress. By engaging in activities that you enjoy, you can prevent yourself from experiencing symptoms of dementia.
In addition to reducing stress, you can practice relaxation techniques and learn to listen to music. Meditation and exercise can also reduce stress. Try a variety of techniques to find the ones that work for you. Remember to find balance, as it’s important to identify any unrealistic expectations and prepare yourself for new situations.
5. Quit Smoking
Research shows that smoking can increase the risk of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It damages blood vessels, decreasing their ability to flow freely. And because the brain is dependent on blood flow, the less oxygen it receives, the higher its risk of dementia. Thus, quitting early can help improve brain health and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
But the process of quitting is not always easy. Quitting smoking involves a lot of work and dedication and can be extremely difficult in the early stages. But there are ways to quit smoking successfully, including nicotine gum. To help you quit, your primary care provider can prescribe medications that can help you kick the habit.
Alzheimer’s disease is a complicated condition, and the best way you can prevent it or delay its effects and symptoms from setting in may turn out to be a combination of measures. For now, always remember to live a healthy lifestyle that’s good for the brain and also the whole body.