Sunday, May 15, 2022

How To Keep Brain Healthy

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How to Keep Your Brain Healthy

Do you feel that your memory has taken an unexplainable dip? If so, there may be a health or lifestyle problem to blame.

Its not just dementia or Alzheimers disease that causes memory loss. There are many diseases, mental health disorders, and medications that can interfere with memory:

Heart disease and its risk factors. Cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, have been linked to mild cognitive impairment.

Lifestyle Strategies To Keep Brains Healthy Which Also Might Push Back The Onset Of Dementia

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Approximately 50 million people live with dementia. And that number is expected to rise dramatically in the coming decade.

At the same time, our understanding of dementia and our ability to delay or possibly prevent cognitive decline are improving, says Heather Snyder, vice president of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimers Association.

As people live longer, healthier lives, many of those who develop dementia today do so much later in life, says Lon Schneider, a professor of psychiatry, neurology and gerontology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California at Los Angeles.

Recent research has begun to detail the lifestyle strategies that could most effectively protect our minds, and it now seems possible that we could further push back the average age for the onset of dementia, says Sarah Lenz Lock, executive director of the Global Council on Brain Health , a research group. Delaying the onset of dementia by five years could dramatically improve peoples quality of life and cut overall incidence in half, Lock says.

People think that cognitive decline is inevitable as you age, Lock says. Thats just not true.

Working To Prevent And Treat Dementia Diseases

If youre concerned about your memory, speak up. At your Medicare Yearly Wellness Visit, your doctor can perform a cognitive impairment assessment to look for signs of dementia or Alzheimers disease. Or at any time talk to your primary care physician. They can test you or refer you to a specialist like a neurologist who can diagnose and treat these diseases.

Its also important to be aware that over-the-counter and prescription medicines can have side effects that affect clear thinking, memory or alertness. Check with your doctor. Especially avoid sleep aids and decongestants.

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Ways To Keep Your Brain Healthy

Smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure can take a toll on your brain. Here are things that can help.

The condition of your blood vessels may determine a lot about the health of your brain, according to new research.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh found that a variety of factors including smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes all conditions that affect your blood vessels or vascular risk factors may also hurt your brain.

Over time, these factors may lead to brain deterioration and increase the risk of developing Alzheimers disease or other forms of dementia.

This new study published March 11 looked at the MRI scans of brains from 9,772 people between the ages of 44 and 79.

Specifically, the researchers, who were led by Simon Cox, PhD, a senior research associate at the University of Edinburghs Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, examined connections between seven vascular risk factors smoking, hypertension, pulse pressure, diabetes, , body mass index , and waist-hip ratio and structures of the brain responsible for complex thinking. These areas are known to deteriorate as dementia develops.

To determine the impact of these vascular risk factors on brains, the researchers compared brain scans from people of similar head size, age, and sex.

Indeed, all risk factors except high cholesterol were associated with some degree of brain health decline.

How You Can Help Provide More Information

How to Keep Your Brain Healthy: 8 Ways to Strengthen Your ...

More clinical trials are necessary to determine what approaches to preventing and treating dementia actually work. In these studies, researchers randomly assign volunteers to two or more groups. They may direct one group to adopt a new practice and tell the other group not to change their ways. After a certain period, the investigators examine both groups and compare the resultsin this case, changes in brain structure, reasoning ability, or memory. If you participate in a clinical trial you’ll get expert medical counseling, and you may be among the first to receive a promising new treatment. To find a trial testing new ways to prevent and treat dementia or milder memory and reasoning problems in your area, go to the websites of the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org or the National Institutes of Health at clinicaltrials.gov.

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Social Activities During Covid

During the COVID-19 pandemic, make sure any activities you plan follow CDC guidelines. Instead of in-person activities, consider other options like planning a video call with friends or family, having a picnic outside, or joining an online class or virtual book club.

Connecting with other people through social activities and community programs can keep your brain active and help you feel less isolated and more engaged with the world around you. Participating in social activities may lower the risk for some health problems and improve well-being.

People who engage in personally meaningful and productive activities with others tend to live longer, boost their mood, and have a sense of purpose. Studies show that these activities seem to help maintain their well-being and may improve their cognitive function.

So, visit with family and friends. Consider volunteering for a local organization or join a group focused on a hobby you enjoy. Join a walking group with other older adults. Check out programs available through your Area Agency on Aging, senior center, or other community organizations. Increasingly, there are groups that meet online too, providing a way to connect from home with others who share your interests or to get support.

We don’t know for sure yet if any of these actions can prevent or delay Alzheimer’s and age-related cognitive decline. Still, some of these have been associated with reduced risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.

Eat Real Foods Not Individual Nutrients Or Supplements

Dr. Gupta avoids most supplements. Real food contains a multitude of components that help beneficial ingredients travel through your body or even help unlock receptors so those beneficial ingredients can do their jobs. Doctors call this the entourage effect, and its why real food, like fish, is better than supplements, like fish-oil capsules, for brain health.

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Nourish Your Brain With A Healthy Diet

Like any high-performance machine, the brain needs top quality fuel.

  • Your brain needs a well-balanced, low cholesterol, low saturated diet.
  • Protein and unsaturated fat is especially important for developing brains. Fish, a rich source of both, is sometimes called brain food.
  • Your body converts long strings of amino acids in the protein you eat to individual amino acids that your brain converts to the specific proteins it needs.
  • Your brain needs vitamins and minerals; they come from your diet.
  • Research suggests anti-oxidant vitamins E and C protect the brain.
  • Avoid excess food. Reducing calories can help slow age-related brain changes
  • Enjoy caffeine and alcohol in moderation.
  • As a general rule, good nutrition for the body is good nutrition for the brain.

What energy source is essential for the brain?

  • Your liver, pancreas and kidneys work together to maintain the right level of glucose in your blood
  • Your blood supplies glucose to your brain at a steady rate
  • The glucose provides the energy to enable brain proteins to build cells, produce chemicals for nerves to communicate and to repair damage

Limit Stress And Get The Sleep You Need

How to keep your brain healthy through exercise

When were under stress, we make a hormone called cortisol, which has a stronger effect on older brains. This challenges an older persons ability to recover from emotional upset. Knowing this, its best for older people to take change slowly and learn ways to cope with anxiety or tension.

Alcohol is not recommended to help you relax because long-term overuse clearly leads to cognitive impairment. Drink moderately , if at all.

Rest is important for managing stress. Research shows that inadequate sleep is linked to slower thinking and more risk for dementia. Individual needs vary greatly but most guidelines recommend getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Frequent trouble sleeping does not mean you need to take sleeping pills for insomnia. Such drugs can actually worsen cognitive problems. Instead, try these ways to sleep better.

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Simple Ways To Keep Your Brain Sharp As You Age

There are all kinds of gimmicks that claim to keep your brain strong and prevent dementia, from over-the-counter supplements to brain training programs. But there isnt one magic fix. There is nothing proven that will 100 percent keep you from getting dementia, said Heather Mulder, senior outreach manager at Banner Alzheimers Institute;in Phoenix, AZ.

But that doesnt mean you should throw up your hands in frustration. While there are no guarantees, there are steps you can take that will help keep your brain sharp as you age. The best thing you can do is modify your lifestyle to support your brain health and reduce your risk, Mulder says.

Why Is Balance Of Blood Sugar Necessary

Your brain cannot work without energy from blood sugar that should be balanced without sudden spikes or lows. Higher levels of sugar in your blood affect the brain in that your cognitive and memory skills may become slow. If the levels of blood sugar are not balanced then our brain suffers so we feel tired, unable to concentrate, we are anxious or irritable.

People eat chocolate or drink coffee to enhance their brain, but what they actually need is a healthy snack.

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Ways To Keep Your Brain Healthy And Young

Our brain tends to change over time, but you should not think that the older you get, the lower your mental activity. Recent studies have shown that there are quite a few ways to keep your brain healthy and sharp for a long time.

Research is finding more and more evidence that following certain rituals can significantly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimers disease or any other form of dementia.

How to keep your brain healthy?

Five changes that you need to implement in the usual way of life to improve the state of the brain and reduce the risk of disease. They will also be helpful in many ways for people who already have dementia, as they will help stop the development of the disease. Below we take a closer look at these five preventative measures.

Connect With Friends And Family

Ways to keep your brain healthy infographic for you ...

As humans were meant to connect with one another, Mulder said. While the pandemic adds a level of challenges to connection with friends and family, its not insurmountable. If you cant be together in person, pick up the phone or connect online. Something is better than nothing. Its good for your mental health and cognition, Mulder said.

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Tip : Dont Skip The Physical Exercise

While mental exercise is important for brain health, that doesnt mean you never need to break a sweat. Physical exercise helps your brain stay sharp. It increases oxygen to your brain and reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Exercise also enhances the effects of helpful brain chemicals and reduces stress hormones. Perhaps most importantly, exercise plays an important role in neuroplasticity by boosting growth factors and stimulating new neuronal connections.

Why Living A Brain

There is new scientific evidence to support that living a brain-healthy lifestyle today can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimers disease and related dementias tomorrow.

In fact, 1 in 3 cases of Alzheimers disease may be preventable by adopting and regularly practicing HFCs 5 BrainHealth Habits. For an epidemic that has no cure and no way to slow the progression of the disease, this is huge news!

And, because Alzheimers actually begins in the brain up to 20-30 years before the onset of symptoms, there is no better time than now to start building a more Alzheimers-resistant brain.

We are excited to help you jumpstart your brain-healthy journey, teach you how to better care for your brain, and hopefully reduce your risk of cognitive decline.

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Ways To Keep Your Mind Sharp And Healthy

As the brain is most complex organ in our body, keeping brain healthy is as crucial for overall health. Brain controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger and every process that regulates our body. 1 By following these 5 rules, not only you can keep your brain healthy but it keeps your overall body in good shape.

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Keep The Blood Flowing

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The brain needs a good blood flow to deliver vital nutrients and oxygen and take away waste products. Smoking, high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol all sludge up the arteries and impede blood flow. If you care about your brain function, sorting out these risk factors remains the most useful thing you can do.

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Avoid All Types Of Head Injury

Whether you are a competitive athlete, play sports for fun, or exercise for health, taking care to avoid head injuries should be part of your routine. Evidence shows that a concussion may harm your brain both immediately and long-term. In fact, head injuries suffered in youth have been linked to increased risk for dementia, including Alzheimers disease, in old age.

To protect your head from bumps and bruises, wear a strong helmet when biking, skiing, skating, or participating in other sports. Drive safely to prevent traffic accidents. And avert falls:

  • Wear glasses or contact lens if you need them.
  • Wear lace-up or Velcro shoes with solid heel support.
  • Wear shoes indoors rather than walking barefoot or in your stocking feet.
  • Avoid medications or alcoholic beverages that make you unsteady or dizzy.
  • Use a cane or walker if you need it.
  • Clear your home of trip hazards like electrical cords, loose rugs, slippery bathing surfaces, and poorly lit walkways.

Find out how scientists in the joint KPWHRI-University of Washington ACT study keep learning about the brain and aging.

What Can I Do To Keep My Mind Sharp

Brain changes occur 10 to 20 years before dementia symptoms appear. So using your brain throughout your life is important to keep your memory sharp. Adopt these four activities and lifestyle habits to improve memory.

1. FitnessStudies show that exercise and brain health are related. Active people have a lower risk of memory loss and dementia. Thats because physical activity increases blood flow to the brain. Its an energy boost for the body and the brain. Exercise also increases nerve proteins that protect brain cells. Regular exercise helps you manage overall health like weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes risk. Learn the best way to exercise in this post, Adults at every age need key exercises.

2. FunBrain games that stimulate the mind can cut your risk for developing dementia or memory loss in half. Try puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku, card or board games, or playing an instrument. Or learn something new through faith-based group activities, volunteering or starting a hobby. Learning creates new connections between brain cells. Out with the old, in with the new!

3. Family & FriendsA solid network of social connections is important. We get to have stimulating conversations, share a laugh and enjoy experiences together. Family and friends also help us manage stress and solve problems. They provide support for daily living like eating, sleeping and getting medical care as needed.

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Tip : Make Time For Friends

When you think of ways to improve memory, do you think of serious activities such as wrestling with the New York Times crossword puzzle or mastering chess strategy, or is it more lighthearted pastimeshanging out with friends or enjoying a funny moviethat come to mind? If youre like most of us, its probably the former. But countless studies show that a life full of friends and fun comes with cognitive benefits.

What Else Can I Do To Maintain My Brain Health

How to keep your brain healthy!

You can stay active physically, socially, and mentally. Physical activity helps prevent disease and maintain blood flow to the brain. If you dont already exercise, try to work up to 30 minutes of moderate activity into your schedule 5 times a week. Moderate activities include anything that gets your heart rate up. Walking, hiking, bicycling, and swimming are all good options. Choose something you enjoy doing.

Any activity you do with other people helps to stimulate your brain. A social activity can be as simple as having lunch with a friend or walking around the block with a neighbor. Volunteer opportunities in your community or church are good ways to be social. Another option is finding a club or social group that focuses on a sport, hobby, or topic you enjoy.

To keep your brain cells strong and active, its important to stay mentally active. Challenge yourself to learn something new. Read to stay informed and for fun. Enroll in a class at a local community college or adult education center. Or, challenge yourself in a different way by playing games, completing puzzles, or trying memory exercises.

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