Thursday, June 7, 2012

Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer's Dementia

Approximately 5 million people in the United States suffer from Alzheimer`s disease. As the elderly population continues to grow, this number is expected to increase. Estimates suggest that its prevalence may more than double by 2050. While research efforts have focused mainly on finding a cure, the best available drugs can only slow progression of Alzheimer`s. However, it is a largely preventable condition, and strong evidence exists for brain-healthy habits that can reduce one`s risk of developing the disease. Nutrition and diet Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Such foods are nutritionally dense and rich in antioxidants. These qualities will improve overall health and well-being, while cutting the risk of Alzheimer`s dementia. The omega-3 fatty acids found in certain fish may help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer`s disease. Salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring are rich sources of this nutrient. Consuming such fish just once per week is associated with a 60% risk reduction. Other great sources of omega-3s include flaxseed, walnuts and quality supplements. Supplementing your diet helps to ensure that adequate nutrients are available to the body. In addition to omega-3s, you might consider adding a whole food multivitamin supplement. Physical activity Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Improved brain function is just one of the many benefits of regular exercise. Maintaining a healthy body weight is another. One study found that individuals who were obese in middle age were 2-3 times more likely to develop dementia in advancing years. Furthermore, it is important to keep blood pressure and cholesterol under control. Research shows that those who have high blood pressure and high cholesterol are placing themselves at significantly higher risk for dementia. Regular exercise along with a wholesome diet promotes healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. At least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five times per week, is best for significant health outcomes. Obviously, this does not require a major time commitment. The key here is consistency. Walking, gardening, bicycling, yoga, tai chi, swimming, and use of an elliptical machine are some examples of low-impact aerobic exercise. Use it or lose it Exercise for the mind, sometimes called "neurobics," is just as important as physical exercise. Frequent engagement in mentally stimulating activities can decrease the likelihood of an Alzheimer`s diagnosis by almost 50%. Reading, working crossword puzzles, and playing board games are a few examples of things that require concentration and preserve cognitive function. Enroll in courses at a local college or senior citizen center. Studying a foreign language or learning to play a musical instrument provides ongoing challenges and rewards. Aim to pick up a hobby, or learn something new, with a friend. This requires social interaction, which not only enhances cognition, but also helps you stay committed to your goal. Social life Remain socially active. Stay in touch with friends and family. Fostering and maintaining close personal relationships is an essential component of well-being. Social connection may reduce the risk of depression and dementia. A healthy social life may include such things as travel, participation in community events, volunteer work, or involvement in service projects. Whatever you do, be proactive and reach out to others. Don`t let yourself become isolated. Start an exercise regimen with a friend, or group of friends. Being part of a social group makes both physical and mental activity more enjoyable. Tobacco and alcohol Cut out smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Research shows that the onset of Alzheimer`s comes much sooner for those who engage in heavy smoking and drinking. Additionally, smoking beyond the age of 65 increases the risk of developing Alzheimer`s by nearly 80%. Conclusion These prevention strategies describe an overall lifestyle modification. There are no shortcuts, no magic-bullet solutions. Positive results are realized when the above mentioned habits are combined to form new behavior patterns. Investing in a nutritious diet, your physical and mental fitness, as well as social contacts, will give you more energy, allow you to enjoy more productive years, and preserve brain power. The health dividends that you`ll receive are enormous, and will protect against other chronic illnesses like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Source -

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