Alzheimer’s Prevention: FAQ and Tips

In the journey toward Alzheimer's prevention, adopting a holistic approach that encompasses physical, mental, and emotional well-being is your most effective strategy.

Before we get started, let us first answer the most basic questions you have about Alzheimer’s prevention:

  • Can Alzheimer's disease be completely prevented? No, there is no guaranteed prevention, but adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk.
  • What causes Alzheimer’s? Having a buildup of two types of protein in the brain: tangles (tau) and plaques (beta-amyloid plaque), which can kill brain cells.
  • Do genetics factor into Alzheimer's risk? Yes, genetics do play a role as your risk of dementia may be higher if you have inherited genes from family members or certain gene mutations; however, that doesn’t always mean that you’ll develop the disease. Lifestyle factors have a substantial impact on risk.
  • Are supplements effective for preventing Alzheimer's? Some supplements and other interventions may offer cognitive benefits, but they should be used alongside a healthy lifestyle.
  • At what age should I start focusing on Alzheimer's prevention? It's never too early to adopt brain-healthy habits!

Now that you know that Alzheimer’s can’t be completely prevented, you ALSO know that a healthy lifestyle can stave off or decelerate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Here are various strategies and lifestyle changes that individuals can incorporate into their lives, starting right now!

10 Lifestyle Changes You Can Make Today to Help Prevent Alzheimer’s

1. Embrace a Healthy Diet

Opting for a healthful diet that includes fresh produce, whole grains, wholesome fats like olive oil, nuts, legumes, fish, occasional red meat, and moderate portions of poultry, eggs, dairy, and even red wine has demonstrated the ability to delay or impede the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Even adhering partially to specialized healthy eating like the DASH, MIND, or Mediterranean diet holds benefits.

2. Exercise Moderately

Evidence suggests that regular physical activity can postpone the onset or slow the course of Alzheimer's disease in individuals with symptoms. Engaging in regular physical activity improves blood flow to the brain, promoting the growth of new neurons and connections. Experts recommend around 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise, three to four days per week.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Accumulating proof indicates that obtaining quality, uninterrupted sleep not only bolsters overall health but is linked to enhanced removal of amyloid from the brain, potentially aiding in Alzheimer's disease prevention. Strive for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, which is crucial for memory consolidation and brain detoxification.

4. Challenge Your Brain

Challenging your brain with activities like puzzles, reading, learning new skills, and playing musical instruments helps build cognitive reserve, which can delay the onset of Alzheimer's symptoms.

5. Foster Social Connections

Though not scientifically-proven, increased social interaction with others could play a role in averting Alzheimer's disease. After all, engaging in various social activities can reduce feelings of isolation and depression, both of which are linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline.

6. Consume Alcohol in Moderation

Conflicting evidence surrounds the risk factor of moderate alcohol consumption—around one daily drink for women, two for men—and its potential to reduce Alzheimer's disease risk. While red wine may offer a benefit, this remains to be definitively established.

7. Stress Management

Chronic stress can contribute to mild cognitive impairment. Practices like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help manage stress, foster wellness, and promote brain health.

8. Heart-Healthy Habits

Cardiovascular disease and heart disease have been linked with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease. Clinical trials and Alzheimer’s research are underway to determine whether managing high blood pressure in individuals with hypertension can slow cognitive decline. In general, what's good for the heart is good for the brain, so managing blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and blood sugar may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s or cognitive decline.

9. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can impact brain function. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to support optimal cognition.

10. Try Your Best to Avoid Head Injuries

Head injuries, especially severe ones, have been linked to high risk of Alzheimer's disease. Older adults can take steps to prevent falls, such as fall-proofing their home and wearing shoes with nonskid soles that fully support the feet. Protect your head during risky activities and always use a seat belt while driving.

Learn More | Contact St. Andrew’s

If you are a caregiver looking after a loved one, or you simply want to set yourself up for the best defense against dementia, our paramount advice is to capitalize on healthy lifestyle choices. At the very least, this approach will enhance your overall well-being while also potentially assisting in the avoidance of Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, age-related memory loss, and related dementias.

Contact St. Andrew’s to learn more about the items above or to schedule a tour of our memory care residences.

Related Posts

  • Easy to Use Smartphones for Seniors

    In today's digital age, staying connected with loved ones has never been easier, thanks to the advancements in new phone technology. [...]

  • Is Your Home Appropriate for Aging in Place? A Comprehensive Guide

    As the aging population in America continues to grow, more and more older adults express a desire to remain in their [...]