Alzheimer’s disease, dementia risk increases with weaker heart function

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Alzheimers | Sunday, June 05, 2016 - 08:30 AM

Alzheimer's disease, dementia risk increases with weaker heart functionResearch suggests maintaining a healthy heart can ward off Alzheimer’s disease.

Weaker heart health can lead to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia

A study found that living with heart problems could increase your risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The study examined data from 1,000 people who were followed for 11 years. The results, published in Circulation, revealed that among the group 32 participants developed dementia and 26 developed Alzheimer’s disease.

The study found that people with weaker heart function were two to three times more likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s. Exploring this heart-mind relationship can help further develop effective preventative strategies to deter the onset of dementia.

The brain requires blood for a healthy functioning, so when the blood flow is limited, brain issues such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may arise. It follows then that a weakened heart may determine one’s risk of impaired cognitive function.

With ongoing research on mental deterioration, findings like this help better understand cognitive disorders and bring hope of uncovering a potential cure one day.

Prevention tips for heart disease include exercising regularly, eating healthy, not smoking, controlling stress, reducing alcohol intake, controlling risk factors (diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol), and maintaining a healthy weight. Working towards a healthy heart can help you achieve a healthy mind, too.

Boost heart function for healthier brain health

If the key to a healthy mind is a healthy heart, it’s important to embark on a heart-healthy lifestyle. Ensuring that seniors are taking the necessary steps to reduce their risk of factors that can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease is essential in maintaining a healthy mind. Below you will find some of those lifestyle adjustments that can help reduce the risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Exercise: Seniors tend to lead a more sedentary lifestyle. This has many implications on their health, including raising blood pressure and leading to weight gain. Exercise not only combats these ailments, but can greatly improve your heart and brain.
  • Eat well: Diet plays a large role in heart and brain health, because it can greatly affect weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Enjoying foods high in fiberhealthy fat, and antioxidants can work to boost heart and brain health.
  • Control stress: Stress can raise blood pressure and wreak havoc on your body. It can even increase one’s heart rate. Minimizing stress is a useful tool in maintaining proper heart health. Stress can negatively impact the brain, too.
  • Know your risks: If heart disease or any other heart illnesses run in your family, it could be passed down to you. Knowing your family medical history can prompt you to get checked out early and prevent any future damage.
  • Manage other medical conditions: From diabetes to sleep apnea, managing health conditions can improve your brain health.
  • Cut down on booze: Moderate drinking of red wine has shown benefits for heart health, but excessive drinking can actually hurt the heart as it raises cortisol levels similar to stress.
  • Drink coffee: Studies have shown moderate coffee consumption can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Add some flaxseed: Flaxseeds contain essential omega fatty acids, which have been shown to boost heart health. Furthermore, they contain fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol, a known risk factor for heart and memory problems.
  • Lose weight: Being overweight puts your heart at risk, and studies have shown just losing five percent of your bodyweight is enough to start improving your heart health. Losing weight also helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, which are risk factors for heart and brain-related problems.

These are just some useful tips to promote a healthier heart. Not only will your heart benefit, but your overall health will improve as well. A strong heart isn’t just meant for a strong mind. Your heart is your body’s powerhouse. Without it, all other functions fail. Therefore, if you want to maintain your memory and live healthy, take necessary steps to boost your heart health.


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Related Reading:

Popular heart drug linked to dementia risk
Dementia, cognitive decline risk increases with delirium in elderly

Sources:

http://www.ageuk.org.uk/health-wellbeing/conditions-illnesses/7-ways-to-boost-your-heart-health/
http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2015/03/study-shows-poor-heart-function-could-be-major/

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