Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It currently affects over 5 million American adults and experts believe this figure will exceed 16 million by the year 2050. In honor of Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month this June, we thought now would be a perfect time to provide some helpful information about this terrible disease. While it’s true that Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are more-commonly associated with geriatric patients, the impact of these diseases is very far-reaching. According to statistics collected by the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death for American adults. Additionally, over 16 million Americans currently provide unpaid care for relatives or loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.
It’s important to be aware of the most common warning signs of Alzheimer’s including memory loss (short and long-term), problems completing simple daily tasks, changes in vision or depth-perception, or sudden bouts of depression. Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are things we can do to help prevent it before it occurs. We highly recommend practicing the following habits to help reduce your potential Alzheimer’s risk:
Get Regular Exercise
Exercising regularly can lower your chances of developing Alzheimer’s. When you work out, more blood flows to the brain, which makes your brain healthier. We recommend getting at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. Even light exercise like walking will help.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
Think of your mind as a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it will remain. Reading and other forms of mental stimulation can work wonders for fighting off Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Puzzles, brain games, and similar activities can effectively help train your mind.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Conditions like obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. So, in addition to exercising, maintain a heart-healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Try to limit saturated fat (found in meats and full-fat dairy products), as well as sugar, carbs, sodium, and alcohol. Reducing these can lead to a healthier lifestyle.
Make an Effort to Be Social
Having a more active social life is also highly recommended. Stay engaged with friends and family members and seek out support if you need it. Feelings of isolation and depression can go hand-in-hand with dementia.
Education and knowledge are powerful tools in the fight against Alzheimer’s. It’s important to be aware of the warning signs of dementia. For patients with Alzheimer’s, the earlier their condition is diagnosed, the more effective their treatment will be. For more information about Alzheimer’s or to schedule an appointment, please contact Abraham Family Medicine today. Our office is located in Snellville, not far from Grayson, Dacula, and Lilburn.