Monday, June 13, 2016
Lifestyle Changes that Improve Brain Health
While scientists have known for some time that as we age our brains shrink, a few years ago a report was published that for the first time provided evidence of certain risk factors which can contribute to a reduction in brain size. However the good news is that since these risk factors are generally controllable; we can make changes to our lifestyle that will not only improve our physical health be also help to delay a decline in our brain volume.
The study, from the University of California, Davis, reported that there are four risk factors associated with a faster decline in brain function including: high blood pressure, diabetes, cigarette smoking and being overweight or obese. The 1,352 participants were an average age of 54 years at the start of the study and did not have any signs of dementia. All of them were part of the Framingham Offspring Cohort Study (the children of the participants of the original Framingham Heart Study).
The researcher’s results proved similar to those of earlier studies, which indicate a strong link to the fact that “damage to the cardiovascular system is associated with cognitive decline and increased risk of dementia.” Although we know that smoking, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes increase the chance of cardiovascular-system damage; these are all controllable factors that can be addressed through medications and lifestyle changes.
The Alzheimer’s Association reminds us that while we cannot change risk factors such as age, family history and heredity, most experts agree that Alzheimer's disease occurs as a result of complex interactions. They state that, “Research is beginning to reveal clues about other risk factors we may be able to influence through general lifestyle and wellness choices and effective management of other health conditions.”
This post is intended for informational purposes only. Please contact your health care provider with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health.
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