Lately, there has been progress in Alzheimer’s research, and an increasing body of evidence points towards habits healthy for the brain making a big difference in developing the disease, and in slowing it down.
Eating right is good for the body, and for the brain. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil, and nuts can help the health of the brain as well as the health of the body. It also turns out people with diabetes are more likely to develop dementia than people who don’t have diabetes. Amongst people who show the normal mild memory loss we often associate with aging, those who have diabetes are more likely to develop dementia.
Watching one’s weight is connected to eating right. Mid-life obesity is considered a strong risk factor for developing dementia later on, but the risk declines with age. The same goes for high blood pressure: there are indications that middle age high blood pressure can increase the risk for dementia.
Smoking is another important health factor. Middle-aged heavy smokers have a significantly increased risk to develop dementia compared to non-smokers. On the bright side, quitting reduces the risk to normal levels.
Other things to consider when striving to keep one’s mind sharp include physical activity, mental activity such as cognitive training, puzzles, and education, social activities and spending time with other people, and making sure to sleep well.
Get Checked by a Healthcare Provider
If you suspect that you or a loved one is developing Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, see a doctor. If your loved one doesn’t want to see a doctor, you might have to contact their healthcare provider and discuss. Many will agree to bring up the subject during a regular health check.
Current medications can’t treat the underlying disease, but they can slow the development and help mask the symptoms to help the affected maintain a high quality of life.