Healthy Living May Be Key to Reducing Risk of Alzheimer’s
In the largest-ever randomized clinical trial devoted to Alzheimer’s prevention, results show that in individuals at risk for Alzheimer's disease, exercise, diet, and other behavioral changes significantly improved overall cognitive functioning after two years compared with controls. A combination of social, mental, and physical stimulation may be the best medicine for a healthy life and the best way to keep Alzheimer’s at bay.
Even after someone has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, they should continue pleasurable activities and modify them as needed. Regular exercise and a nutritious diet are also important and can help you cope better with the impact of this disorder.
Keep Your Mind Active
A growing body of evidence suggests that staying mentally active may be associated with the preservation of cognitive function. Children and young adults build up brain “reserves” by reading and undertaking mental challenges, and older adults can continue to build these brain connections through stimulating activities. In fact, building these cognitive reserves is a lifelong process in which some nerve cells (neurons) form, some die, and others interconnect.
The brain benefits greatly from the increased blood circulation brought about and sustained by regular physical activity. Discuss exercise plans with your healthcare provider to tailor an appropriate exercise program to your specific needs.
Eating a diet that is high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and low in sugar and fat can reduce the incidence of many chronic diseases. Researchers are continuing to study whether these dietary modifications are also applicable to Alzheimer's disease.
The combination of social, mental, and physical stimulation is the best medicine for a healthy life. Even after you've been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you should continue pleasurable activities and modify them as needed. Regular exercise and a nutritious diet are also important and can help you cope better with the impact of this disorder.
Writer Phil Gutis was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease in 2016 at age 54. Today, he is an advocate for the millions around the world living with the disease.
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