Friday, February 1, 2013

Looking for Ways to be Healthier and Reduce Dementia Risk?


(picture from 'A Place for Mom' website)

As we all know, dementia & Alzheimer's are diseases that we cannot control. The medical community has been pushing for ALL of us to eat better and smarter to try and avoid MANY types of diseases. So following their recommendations, which I grant changes often sometimes, we could all live healthier lives. So doctors, of course, suggest that our elderly parents eat better (look at any specific diet based on a medical condition - that too can be made better tasting) which will not only help them in general but could help reduce getting a memory loss condition.

Six ways to reduce your dementia risk:
*Live a heart healthy lifestyle - basically it means to exercise regularly, no smoking, eat a heart healthy diet (low fat, low sugar, lots of veggies).
*Use your brain - some researchers feel those with higher educational levels are less apt to get dementia or Alzheimer's. Their 'cognitive reserves' help to beat these diseases. I think a lot of studies have shown that those who stay mentally active can help keep their minds fresh.
*Protect your head - serious head trauma and loss of consciousness can aid in the future risk of Alzheimer's. Wear your seat belt, a bike helmet, and make sure homes are safe for those who may have eye or mobility problems.
*Moderate your alcohol use - the study says it found that in 2008, many dementia cases stem from alcohol abuse. It also reports that if you drink red wine for cardiovascular reasons, now it seems non-alcoholic red wine is the better way to go.
*Reduce stress and spend more time with friends - the Alzheimer's Association says it is not quite sure why an active social life and mental stimulation seems to protect the brain but it does. The active social life also helps longevity, happiness and good health.
*Get enough sleep - 'A September 2012 study found strong evidence indicating that the sleep-wake cycle helps to clear the brain of the amyloid plaques that are thought to cause Alzheimer’s, and another study from October 2012 found that healthy adults who report trouble sleeping have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s in the future. Research on sleep and memory that was published only a few days ago in the journal Nature Neuroscience seems to further affirm that when older people sleep poorly it can prevent them from “storing” memories and lead to dementia symptoms.' Strong words - something to think about. Just remember - you have to remember to think about it!!! Which is why we should all be doing the above.

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