Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that tends to mostly affect people older than 65, although it can happen to younger people, but with less frequency. When a person suffers from Alzheimer’s, they start to have microscopic changes in the tissue in certain parts of their brain and constant loss of a chemical substance called acetylcholine, which is vital to brain functions. This substance is related to the communication of nerve cells and mental activities like learning, memory, and thinking. Below we’ll provide five tips for Alzheimer’s disease prevention, so keep reading.
Studies done to date have not found an exact cause of Alzheimer’s and it is difficult to determine exactly who is at complete risk of suffering from this disease. However, there are studies that have related different factors with a greater risk of suffering from this problem: age (between 60 and 65 years old), sex (women suffer from it more frequently), genetic inheritance, genetic factors, and environmental factors (smoking, diets rich in fats, pollution).
What Are the Neurological Symptoms of a Person with Alzheimer’s?
At first, small and imperceptible memory loss occur that could be easily ignored. However, over time, this loss of memory becomes more significant until the person becomes incapable of doing everyday activities and in more serious cases, has problems with intellectual activities like talking, understanding, reading, or writing.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s include:
- Short-term memory loss: It is difficult to retain new information.
- Long-term memory loss: It is difficult to remember personal information like important dates, jobs, and even names.
- Reasoning problems
- Not understanding common words
- Inability tying shoes or buttoning shirts
- Changes in character: irritability, confusion, apathy, or a lack of energy, etc.
How Can Alzheimer’s Be Prevented?
Alzheimer’s is a disease that can be prevented or, at least, can prolong the cognitive well-being for a few more years. Experts recommend learning how to detect the first signs and exercising memory as well as intellectual functioning. Some of the key tips to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s are the following:
Control Vascular Risk Factors
Keep cholesterol, sugar, and blood pressure levels balanced.
Change in Lifestyle
- Diet: It is very important to have a healthy diet because some foods have been found to influence the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s. You should increase your consumption of “good” mono-unsaturated foods like walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, avocados, cinnamon, or olives; poly-unsaturated foods like omega-3 and leafy green vegetables; other nutrients like vitamin E, found in wheat germ, grains, green vegetables, walnuts; vitamin B12 in animal products; vitamin B9 (folic acid) in foods like beans, green vegetables, and oranges. Reduce your consumption of red meat, refined foods, butter, and fats from dairy products.
- Exercise more: Physical exercise is great for your health in general and also to prevent Alzheimer’s. Different studies have found that from 2 hours of exercise a week or more, the risk of developing this disease goes down.
- Not smoking: Smoking tobacco is one of the risk factors of Alzheimer’s because they have found that people that are addicted to cigarettes tend to suffer from this diseases more than those who stay away from tobacco. If you still have not managed to put an end to this bad habit, we recommend searching for alternatives to quit smoking.
- Increase cognitive activity: Cognitive activities can prevent and prolong the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Many studies determined that these activities are an exercise for cerebral functions and memory, which is why they could be key in the Alzheimer’s disease prevention.
Activities that experts recommend for Alzheimer’s disease prevention include:
- Speaking different languages
- Playing musical instruments
- Reading frequently
- Have more social activity
- Challenging yourself with intellectual games like chess, crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, sudoku, and any type of game that you can think of.
Keep in Mind…
To date, there is no exact way of predicting if someone is going to develop a disease like Alzheimer’s. It is very important to keep the risk factors in mind because they can be key to early detection of this disease. Currently, we cannot confirm if its evolution can be stopped, but detecting it in time can really help improve the person’s quality of life.