There is no guaranteed way to prevent Alzheimer's or dementia; however, there are ways to reduce the risk of developing the disease and ways to slow its progression.
Researchers have identified several controllable factors that individuals can manage to reduce their risk of developing the disease and slow its progression.
Prevention is Also Treatment
Each of the factors we discuss on this page has been shown to contribute to the risk of developing Alzheimer's. They have also been shown to contribute to the speed at which the disease advances.
Managing these risk factors not only reduces the risk of developing the disease, but can also reduce the rate at which the disease worsens.
Physical Exercise Reduces Alzheimer's Risk
Heart health is directly related to brain health; the heart supplies the brain with the blood and nutrients the brain needs to maintain itself. A healthy heart supplies the brain with the amount of blood it needs, an unhealthy heart may not.
Numerous studies have shown the beneficial effects of exercise on the health of brain. Cardiovascular exercise causes an increase in blood flow to the brain which brings nutrients which the brain uses to create new brain cells, maintain existing brain cells, and remove the brain's harmful waste products.
Dr Glenn Smith, a neuro-psychologist with the Mayo Clinic specializing in Alzheimer's, recommends to:
Be physically active, aim for going for a walk each day, but at least a minimum of 3 times a week
Learn More: Exercise and Alzheimer's
Poor Diet and Nutrient Deficiencies Have Been Shown to Increase Alzheimer's Risk
As our bodies age they become less efficient at producing certain nutrients. Some of these nutrients are used in the brain and are necessary for healthy mental functioning.
In 2014 the American Academy of Neurology published a study showing a "clear link" between vitamin deficiencies prevalent in seniors and the development of Alzheimer's disease.
We recommend that every individual concerned about memory loss maintain a diet and take a supplement which addresses the vitamins linked to Alzheimer's and dementia.
Learn More: Vitamins and Alzheimer's
Learn More: Diet and Alzheimer's
Stimulating Mental Activity is Important for Brain Health
The mayo clinic emphasizes the importance of being mentally active, recommending:
Be socially active, spend time with your friends or family at least once a week. Social activity is some of the best mental stimulation.
One of the best ways stay mentally and physically active is to be involved in your community. Even attending an event once a week can make a difference.
Learn More: Social Stimulation and Alzheimer's
Monitor Memory Loss and Its Progression
Medications for Alzheimer's work by reducing symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease. These medications are most effective when started as early in the disease as possible.
Individuals who believe they may be beginning to experience memory loss should make efforts to monitor its progression so that if treatment is necessary they will be prepared to treat the disease as early as possible.
The best way for individuals to monitor potential symptoms is to speak with close friends and their physician to develop a strategy to monitor memory loss.
Learn More: Medications for Alzheimer's
Avoid Habits That Increase the Risk of Alzheimer's
Just as there are ways we can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's there are also several factors which can increase our risk of Alzheimer's.
It's important to be aware of these factors in order to not inadvertently place ourselves at a greater risk.
Learn More: Factors Which Increase Alzheimer's Risk