Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia are common illnesses among older adults. Worldwide, around 50 million people are suffering from it. By 2030, as much as 76 million will be diagnosed with the syndrome which affects memory, thinking, and behaviour.
There is still no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are only treatments that delay its progression for a few years. Scientists are still trying to understand what causes it and how to prevent it. However, through years of studies, there is evidence that some things can be done to reduce a person’s risk of developing it later in life.
Here are some science-backed tips that may one day save you from Alzheimer’s disease.
The Power of Lifelong Commitment to Learning
Studying sharpens your cognitive skills, even as an adult. When you commit yourself to lifelong learning, you can expect to practice your memory skills and constantly challenge your thinking as you expose yourself to new concepts and ideas.
Now, scientists believe that lifelong learning can eventually lower the likelihood of getting an Alzheimer’s diagnosis in the future.
In one study, researchers looked at cognitive activity among people who sought a lifetime of intellectual enrichment. They divided it into two categories: in early/mid-life, which was gauged by education and occupation, and mid-/late life, which was measured through a questionnaire.
They found that those who pursued learning during mid-/late life had less cognitive decline over the years. Their cognitive activity remained strong, even if they did not go through a high early/mid-life cognitive enrichment.
It is never too late to enrol in courses and gain another skill, one that may or may not help you achieve your career goals. In Singapore, short courses are readily available for you to take and increase your knowledge base. You can also learn different skills in the arts; Learning how to play a musical instrument or speak another language have been proven to be beneficial for your brain’s heath. It might just prevent you from having Alzheimer’s disease in the future.
The Restorative Effects of Sleep
We live in a society that values hard work that, at times, people who do not get enough sleep to achieve their dreams are glorified.
Nikola Tesla, a famous inventor, was said to have as little as two hours of sleep every night. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher slept for just four hours every night while in office. Former U.S. President Barack Obama also reportedly went to bed at 1 a.m. and then woke up at 7 a.m. every day while in the White House.
This, however, is not healthy, especially for the brain. Sleep deprivation has beenheavily linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Multiple studies have discovered that sleep helps the body ward off illnesses. In the brain, adequate sleep lowers a person’s chance of experiencing a range of brain disorders, from simple forgetfulness to Alzheimer’s disease.
Adults are recommended to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
Mental Health Conditions Affect the Brain
It turns out, regular exposure to stress and anxiety can increase a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Stress, which is something that many adults and young adults experience nowadays, triggers the release of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol has been linked to problems with memory by a couple of studies. Stress is also known to negatively affect the immune system which fights infections. Unfortunately, a weakened immune system can also lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
Anxiety, too, is bad for the brain. One study found that the symptoms that come with anxiety may increase the levels of beta-amyloid proteins, which is the hallmark characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease.
A Healthy Body is a Requirement for a Healthy Mind
Here is one more reason why you need to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. These healthy routines might stave off the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias for a longer time.
In one paper, the National Institute of Health tracked the medical history of around 1,400 individuals. They found that, of that number, 142 had Alzheimer’s.
There is one common denominator among those 142 patients: they all had a high body mass index (BMI) when they reached the age of 50 and beyond.
There is no guarantee that following each of these steps will completely save you from getting Alzheimer’s disease later in life. A lot of studies are needed to find out whether there is a way to effectively prevent the syndrome among the population. However, keeping the brain engaged and maintaining a healthy physique is always a good strategy to avoid becoming ill.