Alzheimer’s Is Not Inevitable

In caregiving, community, Health on February 19, 2012 at 3:27 am

Many experts believe we can, if not prevent, delay dementia ~ even if it seems to run in the family. Reducing risk factors like diabetes, obesity, smoking and lack of physical activity just by 25% could prevent approximately 1/2 million cases of Alzheimer’s in the U.S. according to a recent analysis from the University of California.

The goal is to prolong it long enough that we can live a life without ever suffering from the sysptoms (Gary Small, MD UCLA’s director of Longevity Center). There seem to be four main areas.

GET MOVING ~ one of the key things we can do to keep our brains young is exercise. Higher exercise levels can reduce dementia risk by 30 – 40%. Physically active people tend to have better cognitive function and memory. Physical activity can also trigger the the growth of new nerve cells & promote nerve growth. Even a little exercise is better than none…15 minutes of regular exercise three times a week can help maintain the brain.

PUMP SOME IRON ~ Studies have shown lifting weights, even light weights, have increased cognitive function and increased the levels of growth factors in the brain, such as IGFI, which nourish & protect nerve cells.

LEARNING ~ When we challenge the brain, we increase the number of brain cells & the number of connections between those cells. It is not enough to do things like crossword puzzles if this is something you routinely do. You have to learn new things like sudoku or a new language. Engaging the mind can help older brains maintain healthy functioning.

REDUCE STRESS ~ chronic stress floods our brains with cortisol which leads to impaired memory. Harvard Researchers studied men & women trained in meditation and found they had reduced harmful stress hormones compared to individuls who were not taking “down time” to reduce the stress in their lives.

Bottom line, the things that we keep hearing about exercising, reducing stress, etc. seem to have way more positives than negatives so what do you have to loose? Get out there and “move your body”!

  1. Thats very interesting to know that exercise helps to prolong the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. I guess exercise really does more than just keep your body parts healthy. It’s also good to know that my daily game of sudoko will help keep my brain healthy!

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