Lifestyle Choices may Make a Difference to Those who Suffer From Chronic Disease, Including Alzheimer’s Dementia

Cases of Alzheimer’s dementia have increased significantly over the last thirty-five years. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there were less than two million people with Alzheimer’s dementia in 1983. Now about 5.7 million Americans, or 1 in 10 seniors, are living with Alzheimer’s dementia and that number is expected to exceed 14 million by 2050.

In the last few years knowledge of the disease has increased greatly.

While there’s no cure for the disease there are some lifestyle choices that people can make to prevent Alzheimer’s or slow the disease progress in an individual.

“Alzheimer’s is a multifactorial disease: research shows its causes are influenced by genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle choices,” said Dr. Grazyna Pomorska, a neurologist with Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts.

Dr. Pomorska reviewed the literature on the effects lifestyle has on chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer’s dementia. She found lifestyle choices may have positive impacts.

“As chronic diseases (such as insulin resistance and diabetes) are on the rise, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s dementia is expected to increase,” Dr. Pomorska co-wrote in a 2017 article in the Alzeheimer’s & Dementia Translational Research and Clinical Interventions journal. “There is evidence that neuroinflammation and oxidative stress, linked to environmental pollution, unhealthy diet, disturbance in gut-microbiome and stress, are all common denominators.”

Some tips for a comprehensive approach in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s dementia are below.

  1. “Recent findings show that occupational complexity, busy schedule, mutlilingualism, music, physical activity, or mindfulness-based interventions may improve cognition, promote brain plasticity, and reduce risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”
  2. Mediterranean diet, which is a low sugar, plant based diet with healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and seeds may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The Standard American Diet, loaded with processed foods and sugars, may increase systemic inflammation in the body. Inflammation contributes to chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. Eating healthfully promotes gut health, a key factor in preventing inflammation.
  3. Exercise reduces stress and releases endorphins in the brain, which lifts mood. Physical activity plays a preventive role against Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. Lack of sleep may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep has a profound impact on reducing stress and clearing away compounds in the brain that may increase chronic disease.

Winchester Hospital offers an Alzheimer’s Support Group designed to provide emotional, educational and social support for caregivers through regularly scheduled meetings. For more information, please call 781-756-4710.

*The content on this website is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Please consult a physician regarding your specific medical condition, diagnosis and/or treatment.

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