Can You Prevent Alzheimer’s? How To, A Guide

Posted June 22, 2020 by Clint Kelly - See Editorial Guidelines

Alzheimer’s disease has ravaged too many people across the world. So, a question that is continuously asked is, can you prevent Alzheimer’s? With advances in technology and more research studies being done, we are getting closer and closer to this answer. However, it is still not very clear.

So, in this article, we will discuss the causes of Alzheimer’s and whether it can be prevented. Here is a quick summary to get you started.

Can You Prevent Alzheimer’s? Over 5 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s, and this disease is the sixth leading cause of death. Many factors can contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s, including genetics and lifestyle habits. It is not clear if you can completely prevent Alzheimer’s, but you can certainly minimize your risk of developing this disease.

Now that you have a basic understanding, let’s get into the details of if you can prevent Alzheimer’s.

What Causes Alzheimer’s

Can You Prevent Alzheimer’s

In order for us to understand if Alzheimer’s can be prevented, we first need to understand what causes this disease.

The root cause of Alzheimer’s is brain proteins failing to function normally. This results in neurons becoming disrupted and losing connection with each other. Researchers have paid attention to two main proteins, which include beta-amyloid and tau proteins.

Beta-amyloid is a portion of a larger protein. The beta-amyloid fragments form together into clusters, causing neurons to lose cell-to-cell connection. Amyloid-plaques can eventually form from these clusters.  

Tau proteins play a part in helping neurons transport nutrients. However, when a person has Alzheimer’s, the tau proteins can form into neurofibrillary tangles because they change shape. Neurofibrillary tangles disrupt the system and cause damage to cells.

As you can see, this disease is complex. The causes of disruptions among neurons and cellular communication are difficult to diagnose.

How to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

There are certain aspects of the risk for Alzheimer’s that cannot be prevented. For example, a person’s age and genetics are both risk factors for Alzheimer’s, yet you cannot control those factors. Despite this, you may be able to mitigate your risks even though you cannot control your age or genetics. Here are some ways to help prevent Alzheimer’s.

1.     Taking Care of Your Heart

Your heart is responsible for supplying proper blood supply to all the organs and other parts of the body. This includes the brain. Without an adequate blood supply, organs will lack the right amount of nutrients to function properly.

Can You Prevent Alzheimer’s

Some studies have found that as much as 80% of those with Alzheimer’s were found to have cardiovascular disease as well. Therefore, it is clear there is a link between one’s heart health and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Other health conditions can put a person at risk for heart disease, thus, increasing one’s risk for Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. Conditions that can do this may include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. 

2.     Diet and Exercise

Maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise has clearly been proven to improve one’s overall health. But how does it help prevent Alzheimer’s?

Consistent exercise can help increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain. By increasing blood flow to the brain, cells are able to get adequate nutrients to keep them functioning properly. Doctors may now prescribe medically approved exercises to help improve one’s overall health.

The importance of one’s diet often goes back to heart health. The foods one consumes often impact the heart significantly. So, limited one’s sugar and saturated fat intake can improve heart function, helping prevent Alzheimer’s. When it comes to dieting, it is important to have a balance. No one diet is specifically suggested, but researchers have found two diets to be particularly helpful.

They include the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet. Both diets emphasized consuming vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, fish, nuts, and beans. The biggest factor here is making sure you are avoiding, or at least limiting, your intake of pastries and sweets, sugary drinks, and sodium.

3.     Social Interactions

Social interactions are crucial, especially as individuals get older and are at an increased risk for cognitive decline. The exact reasoning as to why social interactions may help prevent Alzheimer’s is not fully known. However, it is believed that staying socially active can help stimulate the mind. Individuals that are socially active and are a part of social groups tend to have less likelihood of being depressed. Depression may then lead to an increased risk for cognitive decline. Here are a few ways you can stay socially active and engaged:

  • Volunteer
  • Take a group class of some sort
  • Join a club
  • Visit the local senior center
  • Schedule consistent outings with friends
  • Go to a park or another public place

4.     Stimulate Your Mind

Mental stimulation is a great way to mitigate your risk for Alzheimer’s disease down the road. Those that stimulate their mind regularly are less likely to experience a decline in brain function. Here are a few ways that you can stimulate your mind:

  • Learn something new
  • Increase your skills for something you already do
  • Try creating rhymes and patterns for memorization techniques
  • Solve games, puzzles, and riddles

5.     Avoid Head Injuries

Can You Prevent Alzheimer’s

Head injuries, especially severe ones, or consistent blows to the head, can increase a person’s risk significantly for cognitive decline. A study out of Duke University discovered that those that had a medical history of a head injury had double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The study also concluded that the more severe the head injury, the greater the likelihood there was for developing this disease. Therefore, take whatever action steps you need to avoid major head injuries.

6.     Get Adequate Sleep

Sleep has often been overlooked as being necessary to ensure our bodies remain healthy. Research has suggested that quality sleep helps remove toxins from the brain. Poor sleep has also been associated with increased levels of beat-amyloids in the brain. Therefore, adequate and quality sleep can help prevent Alzheimer’s. If you are struggling to get better sleep, then try taking these steps.

  • Create a regular sleep schedule – This helps establish a natural circadian rhythm.
  • Avoid electronics around bedtime – Phones and TVs emit blue light which stimulates the brain, making it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Create bedtime rituals – Establishing rituals just before heading to bed signals to your brain that it is time to sleep.
  • Limit stress and anxiety – If you feel stressed before heading to bed or when you are trying to sleep, then get up and try reading or relaxing for a few minutes.
  • Treat sleep apnea – If you have sleep apnea, then you may not be sleeping as well as you would like. Get screened for this condition if you have received complaints about your snoring.

7.     Manage Stress

Chronic stress can severely negatively affect your health in many different ways. One of these ways is the effect stress has on your brain function and memory. When an individual is under stress, they have adrenaline and cortisol being pumped throughout their body. When a person has excess cortisol, it can damage cells in the brain that are responsible for the memory portion; therefore, as cortisol levels continue to rise because of stress, your risk for developing Alzheimer’s increases.

8.     Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which can be found in fish oil, has been shown to help prevent Alzheimer’s. In a study with mice, DHA slowed the accumulation of tau and reduced the levels of beta-amyloid in the brain. As mentioned above, both of these contribute to Alzheimer’s. Therefore, adding DHA to your life through fish oil supplements and the consumption of fish and eggs may prove to be beneficial in helping prevent Alzheimer’s.

Medications to Help Prevent Alzheimer’s

There are medications that can be prescribed to patients with Alzheimer’s. These medications cannot stop the disease altogether, but they can help slow the progression of it.

Many of the prescription drugs that help treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease belong to a class of drugs called cholinesterase inhibitors. Cholinesterase inhibitors that are often prescribed to treat mild to moderate Alzheimer’s include:

Namenda and Namzaric are two other FDA approved medications prescribed to treat moderate to severe Alzheimer’s disease.

Conclusion

Alzheimer’s disease is a terrible condition ravaging too many people across the globe. So, we hope this gives you greater insight into how you can help prevent Alzheimer’s.

If you are struggling to afford any of your prescribed drugs, then Prescription Hope may be able to help. We work with pharmaceutical companies to provide patients with the medications they need at a set, affordable cost. Enroll with us today and start saving money.



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