May 12, 2010

Five Ways to Reduce Alzheimer's Risk

National Institutes of Health Panel says there's no sure way to prevent Alzheimer's but that it is possible to reduce risk.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

A panel convened by the National Institutes of Health says there's no sure way to prevent Alzheimer's disease or other forms of mental decline related to aging.

A close read of the report also showed that the panel said,
it's possible that people can reduce their risk by exercising, staying mentally active, and watching their diets.

The panel found that the following factors appear to be associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease,
  • Physical Activity and Other Leisure Activities. Preliminary evidence suggests a beneficial association of physical activity and a range of leisure activities (e.g., club membership, religious services, painting, gardening) with the preservation of cognitive function.
  • Adhering to a diet low in saturated fats and high in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, fish, and olive oil (think: Mediterranean diet)
  • More years of education
  • Higher levels of social and mental engagement
  • Use of Statins to lower cholesterol levels
#1 Physical Activity -- Exercise

Physical Activity  Exercise | Alzheimer's Reading Room

Consider exercises that pump oxygen and blood to the brain. These include running, walking, bicycling. There are at least 18 research studies showing that exercise can improve memory in people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Better yet, start exercising now to improve cognitive function.

To read Worried About Alzheimer's? Tip #1 Exercise -- go here.

#2 Control your Weight

Control your Weight

The heavier a person is, the more likely they are to develop Alzheimer's. Scientist found that the brains of older individuals who were obese (with a body mass index over 30) had approximately 8 percent less brain volume than subjects of normal weight (BMI between 18.5 and 25). When brain-volume loss reaches about 10 percent symptoms like memory trouble or confusion appear. If you are obese, big belly in middle age, the chances that you could suffer from dementia are tripled.

To read this interesting Reuters article -- Big belly in 40s raises Alzheimer's risk in 70s -- go here.

#3 Eat a Mediterranean Style Diet

Eat a Mediterranean Style Diet | Alzheimer's Reading Room

More American's--especially the baby boom generation--are learning the importance of eating healthy. Research studies indicate that eating a Mediterranean-style diet reduces the risk of mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer's. There are numerous studies that indicate this style of eating helps reduce cardiovascular risk factors like high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes.

To read about the Mediterranean Style Diet -- go here.

To read Combination of Mediterranean Diet and Exercise Reduces the Risk of Alzheimer's by 60 Percent -- go here.

#4 Be Conscientious

Be Conscientious | Alzheimer's Reading Room

People who lead a good clean life -- those who are conscientious, self-disciplined and scrupulous -- appear to be less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. Researchers found that people who were highly conscientious had an 89 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease than those who were less conscientious. The researchers also found that conscientiousness was linked with a slower rate of cognitive decline and a lower risk of mild cognitive impairment, a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.

To read Conscientious people are less prone to Alzheimer's -- go here.

#5 Get Control of your Cholesterol Level

High cholesterol in your 40s increases the odds of contracting Alzheimer's--by 50 percent. Researchers found that people in their 40s who had mildly elevated cholesterol were at greater risk of developing Alzheimer's later in life. Researchers also found that people with total cholesterol levels between 249 and 500 milligrams were one-and-a-half times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those people with cholesterol levels of less than 198 milligrams.

To read High cholesterol levels in your 40s may raise the chance of developing Alzheimer's disease -- go here.
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Bob DeMarco is the Founder and Editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized influencer, speaker, and expert in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community Worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 4,900 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room