The August 22 issue of Time Magazine caught my eye yesterday. You have probably seen it too. On the cover is a cartoonish but unmistakable picture of a certain presidential candidate melting. The obvious caption reads, “Meltdown.”
I couldn’t help but pick it up and thumb through the pages. Rather than reading the article on our current political situation though I came across an article on Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is scary and we do not yet have a reliable way to treat it with drugs. We do have a couple of them in our proverbial war chest but they just don’t work all that well and can be expensive.
In fact, according to the Time Magazine article Alzheimer’s disease is expected to cost the US $1 Trillion in health care costs by the year 2050.
Recent studies, however, offer hope. Is there a new medication or procedure? A new breakthrough?
No–and that’s really the great news here. Studies are showing that simple lifestyle interventions have a meaningful effect on our brain health and prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Here’s the bottom line according to the article:
1. Focus on heart health. Improve blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, and type 2 diabetes (all of which are also very amenable to lifestyle change by the way).
2. Exercise. Aerobic exercise has actually been shown to increase the size of brain areas that can shrink during aging.
3. Learn. Continue to read and write letters. Learning to speak another language is another idea.
4. Be social. Loneliness is connected with poorer brain health.
5. Treat Depression. Depression (especially in middle age) is associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline.
6. Sleep well.
Once again we see that how we eat, move, breathe, think and sleep profoundly affects our wellness and our future health.
Healthy lifestyle wins again!