Four Things Everyone Can Do To Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease


You probably know someone who has been affected by Alzheimer’s.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.7 million Americans are currently living with this devastating form of dementia.

While a majority of this number are people above the age of 65, it is not a normal part of aging. Richard Isaacson, M.D., director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City says, “Alzheimer’s is a disease — not an inevitable ride-along with aging.”

The probability of diagnosis definitely raises along with age, but doctors are still trying to pinpoint causes and treatments.

While there may not be official, proven treatments, there are four things that you can do to help lower your chances of getting Alzheimer’s. Your brain, much like any other organ in your body, demands proper care and attention to its health.

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While these four things may not guarantee that you will not be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, they will help lower your chances.

1. Physical Exercise

The first thing you can do is increase your exercise. Try to get 20 to 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. You don’t have to go out and join a local gym, just make sure to get your heart rate up.

Dance around your living room. Walk your dog. Go on a hike. Even small steps like parking farther back in the parking lot at the store can help you move around more.

Those who live active lifestyles have higher brain function later in life. A study published in the “Neurology” journal said that active people have stronger brain functions 25 years longer than those who did not live an active lifestyle.

By getting your blood flowing and increasing your heart rate, your body will flush out a substance called amyloid in your brain. This substance is found in large amounts in the brains of people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

2. Exercise Your Brain

Another thing you can do to lower your chances of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is work out your brain.

This doesn’t necessarily mean Sudoku or crossword puzzles, even though these could be helpful as well, but even putting your phone away for an hour at a time can help.

In our technology-driven world, we often have the answer right at our fingertips. We don’t need to perform simple math problems because we always have a calculator near us, nor do we need to remember facts because access to the internet is never far away.

Not being connected to your phone can force you to figure out simple problems using only your brain.

Conversations with others can also challenge your brain to make connections it may not have made otherwise.

Join a book club or talk about the deeper themes in the latest movie you watched. Even spending intentional bonding time with friends can help you flex your brain muscles!

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3. Consistent Sleep

The third thing you can do is build a consistent sleep schedule.

Sleeping is often undervalued. The body rejuvenates itself while we sleep and even uses that time to heal.

Sleeping is also vital to brain health. Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., founder and chief director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas, says, “It’s almost like there’s a janitor inside that cleans up some of the toxic by-products that may be a precursor to amyloid.”

Not only does this mean maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, but it also means ensuring high-quality sleep.

Things like light from outside or screens can greatly affect the quality of your sleep and should be minimized as much as possible. Consider buying blackout curtains and removing all screen-based distractions from your bedside.

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4. Focus on Your Heart

Many of the habits that reduce your chances of heart disease also reduce your chances of brain disease: things like managing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and weight.

Paying attention to the results of your latest check-up can help you figure out what levels could improve is the best place to start. Your doctor should be able to give you tips on how to keep both your heart and brain healthy.

Making sure your diet is based on fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is never a bad idea either.

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The biggest thing to know is that your brain is not some uncontrollable organ that you just have to pray doesn’t fall victim to a disease. It’s not up to chance.

You can play an active role in your brain’s health by making small changes, like the four listed above, every day.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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