Habits to have to help prevent Alzheimer's Disease

Published: Jan. 10, 2017 at 11:45 AM EST
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(01/10/2017) -- By the time someone is 65 years old, there is a ten percent chance that they will develop Alzheimer’s disease. By the time they reach 85, their chances jump to 50 percent. But research is showing that there are certain healthy habits you can take up now to reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s.

Genetics is not the only factor when it comes to Alzheimer’s.

“Non-genetic factors are even more important.” Gary Small, MD at UCLA tells Ivanhoe.

Dr. Small says that we are more in control than we think when it comes to protecting our brain health.

One thing that we can do to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s is be socially engaged. You don’t need to be the life of the party, but you should connect regularly with family and friends. Also try volunteering or joining a social group to find people that have the same interests as you.

Pump up your brain by building up muscle. Regular physical exercise can also reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 50 percent.

“You don’t have to become a tri-athlete. Just twenty minutes a day of brisk walking is associated with a lower risk for Alzheimer’s.” Dr. Small explained.

And don’t just exercise your body. Also give your mind a good workout. A study from the National Institutes of Health found that older adults who did as few as ten sessions of mental training continued to improve their cognitive functioning for daily activities ten years later. So try learning a new language or filling out a crossword puzzle for a little mental simulation.

Eating healthy, getting more sleep and relaxing more are other things you can do to reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s. And a little bit of good news; a recent study from the University of Michigan found that the rate of cases for dementia has actually been going down since the past decade. The rate for adults 65 and older fell just below ten percent in 2012 compared to 11.6 percent in 2000.