Wholesome dwelling reduces the danger of Alzheimer’s
TUESDAY, June 29, 2021
Alzheimer’s disease has no cure, but one expert says it might be possible to reduce the risk of developing the disease by leading a healthy lifestyle.
There are two different types of Alzheimer’s. Early onset typically affects patients under the age of 65. The late onset affects older adults.
“Early onset dementia is often genetic and can run in families,” said Dr. Chen Zhao, a neurologist at Penn State Health’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. “The cause of late-onset dementia is less clear and is most likely due to a combination of lifestyle, environmental, and genetic risk factors.”
Certain lifestyle changes can have brain health benefits, which can then reduce the risk of dementia.
The strongest evidence is that physical activity, particularly “aerobic activity or exercise that makes the heart pumping, can help maintain brain function,” Zhao said in a medical center press release.
Other changes include a Mediterranean or plant-based diet and better quality sleep. Maintaining strong social connections and mental activity can also lower your risk, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Social and mental stimulation strengthens the connections between nerve cells in the brain, but why this happens is not clear.
“Observational studies suggest that lifestyle influences the risk of dementia; Health conscious lifestyle changes will certainly help improve overall health, wellbeing, and brain health, ”said Zhao.
Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. The disease causes an abnormal protein to build up in the brain and spread to other parts of the brain over time, Zhao said. Normal brain cells begin to die.
This progression can lead to problems that affect daily life, including short-term memory loss, loss of memory, spatial and navigational problems, difficulty making judgments, and ultimately, difficulty speaking or recognizing people.
Early warning signs include difficulty remembering the names of old friends and not feeling as sharp as usual. Later signs include getting lost, repeating the same stories, and forgetting to take medication.
All of these are good reasons to speak to a neurologist or get a referral from a family doctor.
The Alzheimer’s Association has more about the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
SOURCE: Penn State Health, press release, June 23, 2021
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