Fight back against Alzheimer’s

Live a brain-healthy lifestyle

Contributed by Vijaya Reddy, MD

vegetablesLast month, I talked about the impact Alzheimer’s has on women both as patients and caretakers. But did you know that you aren’t powerless against this disease? It’s true. There are things you can do now to help reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s later. And one of the most important adjustments you can make is to live a brain-healthy lifestyle.

What’s a brain-healthy lifestyle?
While you’ve probably heard a lot about the importance of diet and exercise for heart health, it is just as important or your brain. The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has identified seven dietary and lifestyle guidelines to help reduce your risk for developing Alzheimer’s. I highly encourage you to incorporate these into your daily life. They include:

  • Reduce your intake of saturated fats.
  • Eat plant-based foods. (vegetables, fruits and whole grain)
  • Get plenty of vitamin E from foods. (green, leafy vegetables)
  • Take a B12 supplement. (2.4 micrograms per day for adults)
  • Avoid vitamins with iron and copper. (unless otherwise indicated)
  • Choose aluminum-free products. (avoid certain cookware, antacids and baking powder)
  • Exercise for 120 minutes each week. (aerobic exercise is best)

In addition to these seven tips, PCRM also suggests getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night and participating in 30-40 minutes of mental activity most days of the week.

Finally, if you’re already a caregiver for someone suffering from dementia, you may want to consider scheduling that person for a geriatric assessment. An assessment gives the physician an opportunity to take into account the patient’s stage of dementia as well as other health conditions and develop a treatment plan to maximize his/her health. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for the physician to provide the caregiver with information about organizations and services to help in the overwhelming task of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. To learn more about geriatric assessments or to schedule an appointment, please call (513) 475-UC4U.

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