.. New hope for those at risk for Alzheimer’s

Scientists are still racing to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Although there currently is no cure for Alzheimer’s, evidence points to strategies individuals can take to help slow the onset of the disease or help prevent memory loss.

Although the symptoms and onset of Alzheimer’s disease are most notable during a person’s senior years, scientists say that the neurological changes of Alzheimer’s actually may start much earlier on — as early as when a person is in his or her 20s.

A frantic lifestyle, poor dietary choices and inactivity can contribute to Alzheimer’s over one’s lifetime. Recognizing behaviors or other habits that may contribute to Alzheimer’s is the first step to making changes to prevent the condition.

Here are some facts to consider.

• Obesity can increase risk for Alzheimer’s.

• Smoking after the age of 65 makes a person almost 80 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

• Diabetics are twice as likely to get the disease.

• Genetics are only responsible for about one-quarter of Alzheimer’s cases.

A lthough there aren’t any magic pills or potions, there are easy things anyone can do to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

• Stop smoking and greatly reduce alcohol intake.

• Manage diet to control or prevent diabetes.

• Avoid activities that can lead to head injuries.

• Eat a balanced diet, and one that limits processed foods.

• Enjoy brain-friendly foods, such as those high in Omega .. .. .. .. .. fatty acids. • Make attempts to reduce stress.

• Avoid a sedentary lifestyle and behaviors that lead to obesity.

• Prevent high cholesterol and hypertension.

• G et plent y of sleep and restorative rest.

• Keep the mind active with puzzles, reading and other thought-inducing activities.

The Mayo Clinic reports that exercise is very important to keeping Alzheimer’s at bay. In fac t, it may be t he most important component of preventing the disease. Scientists have documented that physical activity effectively reduces the probability of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias over the duration of time. This makes exercise an essential part of anyone’s lifestyle.

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2010-10-21 digital edition

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