Alzheimer’s disease risk may be lowered by treating high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. The study followed 837 people with mild cognitive impairment which can progress into Alzheimer’s disease. Of the group, 414 participants had at least on vascular risk factor. Participants completed blood testing and medical history questionnaires, along with other tests measuring blood pressure, body mass, memory, and thinking skills.
Those with vascular risk factors were classified into one of the three groups: no risk factors treated, some risk factors treated, and all risk factors treated.
After five years, 298 participants developed Alzheimer’s disease and the others still had mild cognitive impairment. Those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cerebrovascular disease, and high cholesterol were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those without these risk factors.
Those who were receiving treatment for all of their risk factors had a 39 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those not receiving any treatment.
Study author Yan-Jiang Wang explained, “Although this was not a controlled trial, patients who were treated for their high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes had less progression of their memory or thinking impairment and were less likely to develop dementia.”
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 fiber, healthy 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 risk: 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.