June 21st marks The Longest Day of our calendar year, and the month surrounding it is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month. Here’s what you need to know about Alzheimer’s disease and possible preventions.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
According to the Mayo Clinic, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. This disease is the most common cause of dementia — a group of brain disorders that cause the loss of intellectual and social skills. In Alzheimer’s disease, the brain cells degenerate and die, causing a steady decline in memory and mental function.
Alzheimer’s disease is typically caused by a genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Scientists are noticing the following risk factors:
- Family history and genetics
- Down syndrome
- Mild cognitive impairment
- Past heat trauma
- Lifestyle and heart health
- Lifelong learning and social engagement
Currently, there isn’t a proven way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease specifically. However, there’s strong evidence that suggests Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease are related.
What increases your risk of heart disease can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Examples include:
- Lack of exercise
- Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Excess weight
- A diet lacking fruits and vegetables
Here’s how you can prevent heart disease, and possibly Alzheimer’s disease.
The Mediterranean Diet
This diet emphasizes fresh produce, healthy oils, and food low in saturated fat. It can lower the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and even stroke. It’s been associated with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Exercise actually involves more than just working out. It’s important to stay mentally and socially fit as well. Something as simple as daily Sudoku puzzles or interacting with friends weekly can help your mind stay active.
Cypress HomeCare Solutions can assist in a few different ways. If you or a loved one are concerned about memory loss or just have questions about memory and aging, you can take advantage of our free memory screening. If you or your loved one are in need of dementia care, you can check out the dementia programs offered by Cypress with oversight by our Director of Memory Care Programs. As always, if you have any questions or need guidance related to any aging topic, call Cypress today. We’re happy to assist.