Alzheimer’s: Getting to the Heart of Prevention

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive form of dementia that causes the cells in the brain and their connections to deteriorate. Anyone can get Alzheimer’s, though family history and other factors increase your risk. Since its discovery, we’ve learned a great deal of information about Alzheimer’s. Most notably, we are learning what we can do to reduce our risk of developing AD. Together with clinical research initiatives, healthier changes are getting to the heart of Alzheimer’s prevention.

How a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle May be Beneficial in Protecting Alzheimer’s

Numerous research studies have been conducted, with more ongoing for preventing Alzheimer’s. Thus far, nothing has been proven to prevent or delay. What research has shown us is clues to what may contribute to the development of symptoms. Examples include:

  • Inflammation in the brain
  • Vascular risk factors
  • Lifestyle

Each of these conditions has the same thing in common. They can lead to vascular (blood vessels, arteries, etc.) issues that can affect blood flow and oxygen to the brain and break down its protective barrier. We can use this information to make lifestyle changes to manage better and prevent conditions that cause vascular damage. Cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are at the top of the risk list.

Senior couple riding a bike

Here are some examples of heart-healthy lifestyle changes to help potentially lower your risk of AD and improve your overall health:

  • Heart-healthy eating– This means limiting the intake of sugar and saturated fats and making sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Regular physical activity– Aim for 30 minutes per day, 5 days of the week.
  • Stop smoking– If you’re having trouble quitting, talk to your doctor about programs to help work towards quitting.

Are You at Risk of Alzheimer’s? Prevention Research Studies are Enrolling NOW!

As many as 5.5 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s. That number is expected to increase as the population ages—unless ways to prevent or delay it are found. Currently, scientists and researchers continue ongoing efforts in evaluating potential new options for Alzheimer’s.

Aside from lifestyle changes, other research targets include:

  • New drugs to delay
  • the onset or slow disease progression
  • Diabetes treatment
  • Depression treatment
  • Blood pressure- and lipid-lowering treatments
  • Sleep interventions
  • Social engagement
  • Vitamins such as B12 plus folic acid supplements and D
  • Combined physical and mental exercises

Wondering how you could lower your risk for Alzheimer's?

If you or a loved one is at risk of developing AD, you can help advance care options as a clinical research volunteer. Alzheimer’s prevention studies are enrolling now at North Georgia Clinical Research. Get involved in the fight to end Alzheimer’s disease today! Call (678) 494-5735 or visit our website to learn more.