We’re all familiar with Alzheimer’s disease — it’s the disease that robs us of our loved ones and robs the ones we love of their experiences. But do we actually know what can cause it and what the risks are? Is there something we can do to minimize the risk of developing Alzheimer’s?
According to prevention.com, nine factors have been identified that could help minimize the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease later in life:
Being very overweight, particularly when you’re middle-aged, is a risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping your weight at a healthy level will decrease your risk. Researchers are not yet sure if it’s diet (e.g., processed foods) that increases the risk of Alzheimer’s or the extra weight itself.
2. Being Underweight
Just as being overweight will increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, so will being underweight. Some researchers think that frailty could be an early symptom of Alzheimer’s, so maintain a healthy body weight and exercise to improve bone and muscle strength.
3. Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid artery disease is a build-up of plaque in the carotid arteries, which are located in the neck. Blood flow to the brain through these arteries becomes more difficult if they become restricted. To avoid this, quit smoking, take up exercise, keep your blood pressure in check and lower your cholesterol level.
4. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a precursor of many diseases and health conditions, and researchers believe Alzheimer’s disease is one of them. Keep your blood pressure down by eating well, exercising and cutting back on salt.
5. Low Education Levels
Alzheimer’s disease has been linked to lower levels of education. While you obviously cannot relive your school days, you can keep your brain active by taking classes, learning a new language, doing crossword puzzles etc.
There have been several studies which have linked depression to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. If you have depression, be sure to get treated by your doctor. In general, try to avoid getting overly stressed and spend time doing things that you find relaxing and enjoyable.
7. Homocysteine Levels
Homocysteine is an amino acid the body makes to break down the protein we eat. It’s generally found in high levels in people who eat a lot of red meat and has been linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Reducing the amount of meat you eat each week and eating foods that are found to help lower levels of homocysteine such as whole grains and leafy greens will help reduce your Alzheimer’s risk.
Diabetes is a worrying disease on its own, but it has also been found to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Eating a nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy body weight are two ways you can reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes and subsequently, Alzheimer’s.
Smoking has been linked to a myriad of diseases, and Alzheimer’s may be a surprising one. However, smoking restricts blood vessels which, in turn, restrict blood flow to the brain. One more reasons to stub the habit out.
Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.