Healthy lifestyle can cut risk of getting Alzheimer’s

A healthy lifestyle has been proven by pats studies to improve people’s risks for cardiovascular disease and other diseases like diabetes but new studies are showing that a healthy lifestyle can cut a person’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.

Healthy lifestyle habits like eating a good brain healthy diet, having adequate exercise, not smoking, limiting alcohol, and participating in brain stimulating activities can decrease your risks of developing dementia including Alzheimer’s.

About 50 million people worldwide have dementia with Alzheimer’s being the most common. And at the current time there is no cure for it or a drug to stop it, however, studies are showing that it may be possible to delay it even in people with genetic risks, as reported by researchers attending the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference last Sunday, July 14, 2019.

Three studies were presented:  Rush University study from Chicago, a UK study and a study from the University of California, San Francisco.

In the Rush study researchers found over a six-year period that participants who followed at least four out of the five good healthy lifestyle habits, 60% of participants had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia as compared to those who only had one or none.

In a similar study done in the UK researchers found that participants with a heightened genetic risk for Alzheimer’s or cognitive decline, had a 32% lower result for dementia if they had a healthy lifestyle.

In the California study, researchers found that people who smoked had twice the risk of developing cognitive impairment or dementia compared to non-smokers or people who had stopped smoking.

In the Rush study data, two sources were used: 1845 participants in the Chicago Health and Aging Project and 920 people who had no dementia at the beginning from the Rush Memory and Aging Project. A total of 2765 in all. Each participant was given a lifestyle score, one point for each healthy habit such as: no smoking; exercising moderately at least 150 min per week; light-to-moderate consumption of alcohol; participating in cognitive activities; and eating a brain supporting diet or a ‘mind diet.’ 

The MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) is made up of leafy green vegetables, beans, olive oil, nuts and poultry, while avoiding red meat, fried foods and sweets, the study’s presenting author, Dr. Klodian Dhana, told NBC News.

It took six weeks for the follow-up. Alzheimer’s disease was developed by 608 participants. When the data was analyzed, researchers found that people who practiced four to five of those healthy behaviors had 60% lower risk for dementia than those who did not. In the category of those who had at least two to three good healthy behaviors the risks were lowered to 37 %.