Nearly 6.2 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Alzheimer’s disease is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and is a devastating disease that can rob people of their memories and lives. But what if there were steps you could take to potentially prevent Alzheimer’s from happening in the first place?
While currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, and the causes of the disease are yet to be fully understood, there are some things that may prevent or slow its progress.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse over time. Symptoms typically occur after age 60. However, early onset Alzheimer’s may occur in people as young as 30 or 40. By taking steps to prevent Alzheimer’s, or by catching it early and getting treatment, you may slow the progression of the disease and improve your quality of life.
What are the Early Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?
There are a number of early signs and symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease. If you notice any of these changes in yourself or a loved one, it’s important to see a doctor for a diagnosis. By catching Alzheimer’s early, you may be able to receive treatment and begin taking steps to slow the progression of the disease.
Some early signs of Alzheimer’s include:
- Forgetting important dates or events
- Repeatedly asking the same questions
- Losing things and being unable to retrace steps
- Issues with depth perception
- Changes in mood or personality
- Withdrawing from social interactions
- Forgetting where you are or how you got there
- Having trouble remembering the date or time of year
- Losing the ability to follow directions
Having a family history of Alzheimer’s puts you at higher risk for developing the disease, as does being Latino or African American. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) may also increase your risk of developing the disease. Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.
Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
While there is no sure way to prevent Alzheimer’s, there are things you can do that may reduce your risk. Possible ways to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s include:
Getting an adequate amount of exercise is important for maintaining your overall health and may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and has been shown to improve cognitive health. Therefore, making exercise a part of your routine is an excellent way to potentially reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Eating a Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is important for maintaining your physical and mental health. What we eat may play a role in our brain’s ability to think clearly. Sticking to a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, may help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. One study suggests that those who followed a Mediterranean diet had thicker cortical brain regions. These regions often shrink in those with Alzheimer’s. Therefore having thicker cortical brain regions may help protect against Alzheimer’s.
Staying Mentally Active
Staying mentally active by doing things like reading, playing games, working on puzzles, or picking up a new hobby, may keep your brain healthy and potentially reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. In addition, cognitive training may help stimulate the brain and keep it active, which may prevent cognitive decline.
Managing Your Stress Levels
Chronic stress can take a toll on our physical and mental health and plays a role in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, it’s crucial to find ways to manage your stress levels. Taking up yoga or meditation, spending time outdoors in nature, or talking to a therapist are good ways to manage stress. In addition, stress may impair our concentration and the ability to make decisions, so it’s important to find healthy coping mechanisms to reduce stress in our lives.
Participate in a Clinical Trial at Olympian Clinical Research
One way to potentially reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease is to participate in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are essential for helping researchers develop new treatments and find ways to slow the progression of the disease. Olympian Clinical Research is currently enrolling participants in a clinical trial for those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Contact us today and see if you qualify.