How to Minimize Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

brain-1787622_640Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed.

The Alzheimer’s Association is involved in many studies exploring the influence of exercise, diet, social and mental stimulation, and other factors in the development of Alzheimer’s.

Improving risk factors like high blood pressure and lack of exercise are important steps to take. Here are other helpful facts published by The Alzheimer’s Association:

Several conditions known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease — such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol — also increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. In fact, some autopsy studies show that as many as 80 percent of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease also have cardiovascular disease.

Regular physical exercise may also be a beneficial strategy to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. Exercise may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow in the brain.

Evidence suggests that heart-healthy eating may also help protect the brain. Heart-healthy eating includes limiting the intake of sugar and saturated fats and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

No one diet is best, but two that have been studied and may be beneficial are the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet.

The DASH diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits and fat-free or low-fat dairy products; includes whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils; and limits sodium, sweets, sugary beverages, and red meats.

A Mediterranean diet includes relatively little red meat and emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and nuts, olive oil and other healthy fats.

Visit The Alzheimer’s Association. Follow it on Twitter @alzassociation.