World Alzheimer’s Day is celebrated on September 21 every year to raise awareness about this chronic neurodegenerative disease, which is the most common type of dementia that impairs brain functioning. Alzheimer’s disease or AD is a disease that affects your brain. This chronic neurodegenerative disease is among the biggest concerns as you get older. The disorder is a type of dementia and progresses slowly. Early symptoms of the condition include short-term memory loss. As the condition worsens, the patient may experience mood swings, disorientation and behavioral issues. In a majority of the cases, the cause of Alzheimer’s is believed to be genetic. Hypertension, depression and head injuries are considered to be other factors that can result in Alzheimer’s. Many studies are being conducted for a cure but the focus has widened to include preventive strategies. A research has shown that making some lifestyle changes to keep your brain active can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s. As we approach World Alzheimer’s Day 2017, here are five effective ways to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. (ALSO READ What is Alzheimer’ Disease: Causes, Signs and Treatments of Alzheimer’s or AD
1. Have a social circle
Having a group of friends or social life will help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s in later life as isolation can harm your brain function. Reach out to your friends and family members and stay connected. This strong network will help you to keep the disease at bay. You can join a social group or club, take up a new class to learn a new language or volunteer.
2. Regular exercise
Exercising is not only good for your physical health but also for your mental health. A regular workout can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s by about 50 percent. Try to do moderate-intensity workout for about 150 minutes every week and your workout routine should have strength training as well as cardio exercises. Start by walking and swimming. Try Tai Chi or Yoga to improve coordination and balance.
3. Consume folic acid
Eat foods rich in folic acid like citrus fruits, avocado and lentils. You can also take folic acid supplements. Studies have shown that intake of folic acid, magnesium, vitamin B12 and fish oil can preserve the health of your brain. You should also eat a healthy balanced meal to stay healthy. (ALSO READ Eyes can reveal onset of Alzheimer’s disease
4. Manage stress
Stress can cause several health issues. It can hamper the growth of nerve cells and shrink memory area, increasing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. You can manage your stress by practicing meditation, learning breathing techniques and engaging in activities that relax you. Go for a walk, have fun with your friends or listen to music.
5. Keep your brain active
Mental stimulation is important to keep your brain healthy and lower the risk of dementia. Challenge your brain with puzzles and keep learning new things. According to NIH ACTIVE study, the cognitive functioning improved in older adults who received mental training. So, use your brain more every day and you can do this by practicing memorization, playing puzzle games, learning something new and changing your habits like using the non-dominant hand.
In many Alzheimer’s cases, the patient suffer from sleep problems. Disrupted sleep can be a risk factor, as per a new research. So, get a goodnight’s sleep as it is important for normal functioning of the brain.