Alzheimer’s is a progressive, degenerative brain ailment which affects memory, behaviour and thinking. Over time, the person may need assistance even for his/her day-to-day activities. Early-onset Alzheimer’s can affect even those in their 40s. One of the reasons for the onset of this condition is not giving enough exercise to the brain.
Among the many reasons for the onset of this condition, genetic cause is an important one, with environmental and lifestyle factors beings others. There could be a relationship between cognitive decline and vascular conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, as well as metabolic conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
There are some ways in which one can reduce the risk of acquiring Alzheimer’s disease and helping people stay healthy as they age. Here are four ways of cutting down on the risk:
Mental stimulation: “Engage in mentally stimulating activities which can help in keeping your brain cells active. This is particularly true for those who have crossed their 40s. Light brain stimulating tasks such as crossword puzzles, quizzes, and daily reading are also recommended,” advises Kapil Singhal, who is a neurologist on the medical app Lybrate, and is based out of Noida.
Stress management: Prolonged stress can take a toll on the brain, shrink the memory area, and hamper nerve cell growth, conditions that can over time lead to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Make sure to follow some simple stress management techniques such as yoga and meditation, especially with increasing age.
Regular exercise: “It is important to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. One can opt for exercises such as walking or jogging. This will promote better circulation of blood and supply of oxygen to the brain,” says Bangalore-based Dr Udaya Kumar Maiya, who is medical director at Portea Medical.
Social engagement: Human beings being social in nature cannot thrive for long in isolation. Make sure you develop strong social connections with those who care for you and listen to you. Many people tend to feel lonely with age and this is one way to avoid it. Volunteer for a cause, join a club or connect with old friends.
Healthy diet: “A healthy and nutritious diet is the first step to being disease free. Make sure to eat colourful, vitamin–packed vegetables and fruits; whole grains; fish, lean poultry, tofu, and beans and other legumes as protein sources plus healthy fats. Avoid unnecessary calories from sweets, sodas, refined grains like white bread or white rice, unhealthy fats, fried and fast foods, and mindless snacking. Exercise portion control,” explains Dr Maiya.
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First Published: Sep 21, 2018 09:06 IST
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