Dementia is on the rise in the United States. Alzheimer’s dementia is the most common type and affects more than 6 million Americans. Experts expect that number to reach 13 million by 2050.
Dr. Andrew Lerman is a board-certified neurologist with a busy practice, Gables Neurology, in Miami, Florida. Dr. Lerman is an active researcher and skilled clinician who believes medical science will soon develop medication that effectively controls cognitive decline and other health complications related to dementia.
Until then, however, Dr. Lerman recommends lowering your risks of dementia with these five easy steps:
1. Keep your heart healthy
It’s not surprising that your heart health plays a significant role in your brain health. Your brain demands a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood to perform its many functions. Your heart, arteries, and a complex network of blood vessels within your brain work 24/7 to meet those demands.
Diabetes, clogged arteries, hypertension, stroke, and many other conditions can negatively impact your heart’s pumping action and compromise your vascular (circulatory) system. Develop heart-healthy habits now to keep your brain functioning at peak performance.
2. Keep moving
Studies show that even light to moderate exercise can reduce your risk of dementia by one-third. Aim for 150 minutes a week, and include flexibility and strengthening exercises in your routine.
You don’t have to run a marathon to keep your brain, heart, muscles, and joints happy. If you don’t mind the view, try walking the beach to get in your minutes, or cycle instead for a different perspective.
3. Stay connected
Social isolation and loneliness are common in today’s culture and significantly increase your risk of developing dementia. Join a local club, volunteer, or maybe grab a couple of friends to keep you company as you walk along the beach. Also, try a book club or another intellectual pursuit that engages your social and cognitive skills.
4. Eat well
It’s hard to focus on health without talking about nutrition, and that’s as true for your brain as it is for the rest of your body. A diet that includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and whole grains lowers your risk of dementia and keeps your heart healthy, which you already know is essential to your brain health.
Healthy nutrition can also reduce your risk of diabetes, hypertension, and other conditions that compromise vascular health. Try the DASH eating plan for a simple-to-follow strategy that hits all the requirements.
5. Call your doctor
Preventative health care can decrease your risk of dementia by identifying problems such as heart disease or diabetes early, long before your brain begins to rebel. Schedule and keep your appointments for routine health exams that include screening labs.
If you or a loved one have noticed declines in your memory, reasoning, or coordination, we can help. Schedule a visit at Gables Neurology by calling our office today.