Reducing Alzheimer’s Risk: 7 Everyday Habits to Adopt
On World Alzheimer’s Day, which falls on September 21, it’s essential to understand that while there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are steps you can take in your daily life to lower the risk of developing this debilitating condition.
Alzheimer’s is a neurological disease that affects the brain, leading to the gradual decline of thinking, memory, and social skills. Alzheimer’s In its advanced stages, individuals with Alzheimer’s become entirely dependent on caregivers, and severe brain function loss can result in dehydration, malnutrition, or infection, sometimes even leading to death.
However, studies have shown that lifestyle changes can significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. These changes include regular physical activity, a healthy diet, stress management, and addressing chronic conditions.
According to Dr. Neha Kapoor, Associate Director & Head of Neurology at Asian Hospital Faridabad, “Although there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, incorporating certain habits into your daily life can safeguard your brain health and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s.”
Here are seven essential lifestyle habits that can help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s:
Embrace a Heart-Healthy Diet: Prioritize a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Foods high in antioxidants, such as berries and leafy greens, can combat brain inflammation and oxidative stress. Omega-3 fatty acids from sources like salmon and walnuts can also reduce Alzheimer’s risk.
Engage in Regular Physical Activity: Establish a consistent exercise routine, aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week. Exercise enhances brain health by improving blood circulation, releasing brain-protective compounds, and maintaining optimal brain tissue health.
Foster Mental Stimulation: Keep your mind active with challenges like reading, puzzles, learning new skills, and engaging in intellectually stimulating conversations. These activities strengthen cognitive reserves, potentially delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Prioritize Quality Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of restorative sleep each night. Poor sleep patterns and sleep-related disorders are associated with increased cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s risk.
Manage Stress: Chronic stress can harm brain health. Incorporate stress-reduction techniques into your daily routine, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or enjoyable hobbies. Reducing stress levels can protect your brain from damage caused by excessive cortisol production.
Cultivate Social Connections: Social engagement is crucial for brain health. Regular interaction with friends and family, participating in group activities, and nurturing social ties can help preserve cognitive function. Loneliness and isolation are linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
Monitor Chronic Health Conditions: Stay vigilant about your overall health, especially conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol, as they can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. Work closely with your healthcare provider to address effectively and manage these conditions.
Dr. Kapoor emphasizes, “Incorporating these habits into your daily life can significantly reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. Consistency is key for their effectiveness. Additionally, consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance in creating a brain-healthy lifestyle tailored to your specific needs and risk factors. Taking proactive care of your brain enhances your chances of enjoying a vibrant and mentally sound life as you age.”