Currently there is no hard clinical proof that any specific behaviors or measures are effective ways to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. As the disorder’s causes are still being researched, medical science is only able to offer certain suggestions based on studies and situational observations such as occurrence of Alzheimer’s among certain populations. Some lifestyle factors do show a loose correlation with the chances of developing Alzheimer’s, though research about how this happens is ongoing.
Medical Risk Factors
Evidence points to conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s. Almost any condition that adversely affects the cardiovascular system is believed to pose somewhat of a hazard, and behaviors such as smoking, excessive drinking or sedentary lifestyles exacerbate the risk. In general, keeping an active, healthy lifestyle (a good idea anyway) is one of the best ways to help decrease your chances of developing Alzheimer’s.
In keeping with the medical factors, a diet that benefits the cardiovascular system is probably a good practice for reducing Alzheimer’s risk. The Mediterranean diet, which is traditionally celebrated for positive benefits for the cardiovascular system, has shown positive effects that some theorize come from keeping the heart and circulation healthy. Evidence also indicates that, when consumed in moderation, red wine, tea and cocoa may have preventive benefits. Nutritional supplements and vitamins have not shown any discernable benefits in preventing Alzheimer’s.
Keeping an active mind has shown to reduce risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This includes activities such as reading, learning a new language and creative pursuits like writing or playing an instrument. It is believed that these activities help make the brain more efficient, which may delay the onset of dementia. A good guideline for approaching Alzheimer’s prevention from a lifestyle perspective involves learning and being active.
Theories regarding environmental risk factors for Alzheimer’s abound, ranging from electromagnetic fields to the presence of aluminum. Very few of these can be backed up with concrete data. Instead, exposure to situations that contribute directly to harming health and increasing stress, such as smoking, pollution and noise, should be limited wherever possible.
Research into the cause, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s is at the forefront of the biomedical research industry and new leaps forward are being taken every day, but until a breakthrough is made, following even a few of these steps now may help improve your quality of life in the years to come.
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Understanding what Alzheimer's does to the brain
Recognizing the effects of Alzheimer's
How is Alzheimer's diagnosed?
Medications and everyday care for individuals with Alzheimer's
What to expect as Alzheimer's progresses
Return to main Alzheimer's information page.
Return to the main Types of Dementia page
A form of dementia connected with repetetive head traumas and concussions. Learn more here.
Frontotemporal dementia is often responsible for early-onset dementia cases. Learn more here.
Symptoms such as muscle rigidity, tremors and changes in speech and gait are common. Learn more here.
Causes a decline in cognitive skills due to brain cell damage due to circulatory problems. Learn more here.
A common form of dementia combining Alzheimer's-like cognitive symptoms and Parkinson's-like motor issues.