While there is no guaranteed way to prevent Alzheimer's, there are many things you can do to reduce your Alzheimer's risk.
The Prevention Philosophy
Exercise Regularly, at least 3 times a week
Stay mentally active and get enough sleep
Stay aware of symptoms
Eat a healthy diet
Increase your Omega-3 intake
Get sufficient Vitamin E
Take time to relax and destress
Reduce alcohol intake
Alzheimer’s and dementia are complicated diseases. They need to be treated and prevented with a proactive multi-disciplinary approach.
Brain health is at the core of each of the suggestions below. One way or another each of the subjects below affects your brain and over time can make the difference between a healthy brain and one with Alzheimer's.
Some Common Medications Significantly Increase Alzheimer's Risk.
Common anti-anxiety medications, of the benzodiazepine class, have been found to dramatically increase your Alzheimer's risk.
Individuals who were prescribed one of these anti-anxiety medications for 3 to 6 months increased their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by thirty-two percent. Those who were prescribed it for more than six months increased their risk by more than eighty percent.
Researchers theorize that these drugs interfere with the brain's ability to repair itself and remove the waste products associated with Alzheimer's.
You can find more information about which drugs can increase your risk of Alzheimer's, the supporting evidence, and an explanation on our Medications and Alzheimer's Page.
Regular Physical Exercise Has Been Shown to Keep the Brain Young and Reduce Alzheimer's Risk.
The Mayo Clinic believes that maintaining an active lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's or dementia.
Numerous studies have shown the beneficial effects of exercise on the brain. Cardiovascular exercise causes increased blood flow to the brain which leads to the creation of more brain cells and removal of the brain's waste products, including Amyloid & Tau.
Keeping mentally active is just as important. Individuals should consider
attending social gatherings, playing sports, or engaging in mentally-challenging activities (puzzles, games, reading).
Dr Glenn Smith, a neuropsychologist 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
Regular Stimulating Mental Activity is Important for Brain Health.
The mayo clinic also emphasizes the importance of being mentally active. Dr. Glenn Smith recommends to:
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 may be enough to prevent the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's.
Senior centers are often an excellent resource for fun and engaging activities. A quick Google search of "Senior Centers near me" is an easy way to locate and explore the activities offered.
Smoking Damages the Brain, Drinking Too Much Does Too.
Regular Smokers Dangerously Increase Their Alzheimer's Risk.
It has been long known that smoking damages the heart and brain, but recent evidence has emerged showing that smoking does more damage than previously believed.
In addition to the normal brain shrinkage associated with smoking, smoking can double your risk of Alzheimer's. Fortunately, many individuals see a significant improvement of their symptoms after quitting smoking.
Individuals who are unwilling, or unable, to quit should consider electronic cigarettes as superior alternative to regular cigarettes.
We discuss smoking in relation to Alzheimer's and provide resources for individuals considering quitting on our Smoking & Alzheimer's Page.
Alcohol Consumption Can Be Good, But Regular Over-consumption is Dangerous.
A recent European examined daily alcohol intake to determine its effects on the brain.
The study found that moderate drinkers were twenty percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's than non-drinkers while those regularly over-consumed were three times more likely to develop a dementia as those who did not.
Over-consumption of alcohol was especially common in study participants diagnosed with early-onset dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
We discuss this study in further depth and provide resources for individuals thinking about reducing their drinking on our Alcohol & Alzheimer's Page.
Be Aware of Current Treatments and of Your Mental State.
Treatment for Alzheimer's Should Begin as Early as Possible.
It's important to stay aware of your mental state. If you suspect you are beginning to develop a dementia, or Alzheimer's, you can speak with your physician about beginning treatment.
If your general physician is unable to effectively examine you, they will be able to refer you to a physician who can.
While the existing medications for Alzheimer's cannot cure the disease, they can improve the symptoms and are best begun as early in the disease as possible. We discuss currently available medications and their uses and side effects on our Alzheimer's Medication Page.
Awareness of Treatments Can Lead to A Better Managed Disease.
The Alzheimer's industry is always in the process of developing new treatments and medications, it's important to stay aware of what available treatment options exist.
The Alzheimer's Organization provides a weekly email with information about new treatments, developments, and tips on how to stay healthy. You can sign up with your email at the bottom of the page.
Regular Poor Sleep Damages the Brain and Increases Your Risk of Alzheimer's.
When you sleep your brain repairs itself and prepares itself for the next day. In order to do so, it removes waste products, repairs damage, and produces new brain cells.
When sleep is interrupted, so are these restorative processes. Chronic interruption, like that associated with sleep apnea, and regular sleep deprivation can disrupt these processes enough to result in damage to the brain and an increased risk of Alzheimer's.
We discuss the sleep cycle, symptoms of sleep loss, and important habits to form for regular good sleep on our Sleep & Alzheimer's Page.
Nutrient Deficiencies Have Been Shown to Increase Alzheimer's Risk.
On August 6th, 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.
One of the simplest ways to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's and other types of dementia is to make sure you don't have a nutrient deficiency.
Unfortunately, as our bodies age they can become less efficient at producing certain vitamins on their own, a problem exacerbated by the lifestyles or diets individuals fall into.
We recommend that every individual concerned about mental health also maintain a carefully balanced diet, take a supplement which addresses the vitamins linked to Alzheimer's and dementia, or both.
For more information on the nutrients linked to a decreased risk of Alzheimer's and their supporting clinical evidence please see our page on Vitamins and Supplements for Alzheimer's and Dementia.