Doctor Housecalls Blog

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Lowering Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease 

Dr. Steve Lipsky MD, FACEP

Dr. Gary Small, professor of Psychiatry at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, and a leading expert on Alzheimer’s Disease,  has written a book entitled: “The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program: Keep Your Brain Healthy for the Rest of Your Life”. He states that although genetics does have a role to play in one’s risk for developing  the dreaded disease, it “accounts for only a small part of the risk”. He states 10 ways to help guard oneself against the disorder:

  • Brisk Walking – 90 minutes/wk
  • Staying Mentally Active – Engaging in stimulating activities such as taking classes, doing    challenging puzzles, reading.
  • Taking It Easy – Reducing anxiety and stress decreases hormones that impair learning and recall. Try yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and getting help from others.
  • Staying Socially Connected – Being isolated and alone is bad for mental health. One recent study showed that a 10-minute stimulating conversation is better for cognitive health that watching 10-minutes of a rerun TV comedy
  • Eating Omega-3 Fatty Fish – At least 2 times per week (or capsules) – once again, they protect the brain from inflammation and degeneration
  • Eating Green Leafy Vegetables and Colorful Fruits – Once again, they’re rich in antioxidants which protect the brain.
  • Maintain Ideal Body Weight – Obesity has been linked to an increase risk of developing Alzheimer’s, as well as hypertension and diabetes that can damage the brain.
  • Get Enough Sleep – Recent studies say 6-8hr/night. This let’s one think more clearly and decreases the levels of amyloid plaques in the brain that can be toxic to cells and lead to Alzheimer’s (we think).
  • Take a Multi-Vitamin Daily – Provides insurance that your brain is getting enough Vitamin B, D, and other nutrients it needs for normal functioning.
  • Take Care of Medical Illnesses – Hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and others if left untreated lead to cognitive decline.

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