In 2010, about 4 million Americans had dementia. This number is on the rise as life expectancy increases. Follow this advice to keep your brain healthy from the American Heart Association.
How to Keep Your Brain Healthy
As we age, our brains can slow down and develop diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s. These diseases do not have cures yet. However, there is some advice to keep your brain healthy before any type of disease sets in.
By 2030, scientists expect 75 million people worldwide will have dementia–about 30 million more than the current number. Dementia starts slowly with signs like forgetting directions or names, being confused easily, and not being able to follow conversations.
Philip Gorelick, M.D., the Neuroscience Medical Director at Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and lead author of the advisory, stated, “Ideal cardiovascular health equates to ideal brain health.” That’s why this past Thursday the American Heart Association (AHA) put out a presidential advisory stating that you can prevent or delay dementia by following “Life’s Simple 7.”
Hannah Gardener, Sc.D., an associate scientist in neurology at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami Florida, said, “We need to start thinking about maintaining optimal brain health in early adulthood, and maybe as early as childhood or even in utero before a baby is born.”
Dementia usually starts in late adulthood. You can be prevent it if you take measures early enough. If we keep up our overall health with exercise and a balanced diet, your brain will work better over time as well as your body.
Another way to prevent the onset of dementia is to keep your brain active and stimulated. With the easy use of streaming tv and movies, it’s easy to let your brain “turn to mush”, as they say.
Gardener suggests that doing exercises like puzzles, learning new languages and instruments, and keeping a healthy social life can keep your brain sharp and clear. Just like your body, the more exercise you give your brain, the better it functions.
Other suggestions for keeping your brain young include getting exercise, improving your diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, healthy blood sugar, and healthy cholesterol levels.
Some people may consider taking low-dose aspirin, avoiding tobacco in all its forms, and limiting alcohol intake to two drinks a day.
Anxiety and sleep deprivation also negatively affects cognitive functions.
Make sure you get enough sleep at night (somewhere between 6 and 8 hours) and learn stress management techniques like meditation to keep anxiety under control.
Taking L-Arginine Plus can also help to open blood vessels and increase blood flow. Heart disease and atherosclerosis can not only be dangerous to your heart but the brain also.
Add healthy habits into your everyday life and help prevent the potential onset of dementia. However, dementia can also be hereditary and there may not be much you can do about it.
Be sure to talk to your doctor if you begin noticing symptoms of dementia to see if you can prolong the onset of it.