Can Alzheimer's Disease be Prevented?

At Serenades Memory Care, we are frequently asked if Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented. To our dismay, there is still no scientific evidence that it can be prevented, but recent studies on brain health suggest lifestyle modifications can significantly lower your risk of developing it!

Scientific advancements related to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease have been in the headlines recently, providing many families with a renewed sense of hope! Groundbreaking treatments such as the new Lecanemab have been proven to slow progression and ease symptoms, but to be clear, there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

While we wait for scientists to discover more effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, doctors recommend focusing on lowering risk, and there is a great deal of research available to show us how.

Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention and Brain Health

The underlying mechanism that causes Alzheimer’s disease is not completely understood, but scientists believe it is caused by the build-up of abnormal proteins called amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain. These abnormal proteins interfere with communication between nerve cells in the brain, resulting in the cognitive decline and memory loss commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease. For this reason, many preventative strategies focus on maintaining and protecting brain health.

For instance, the importance of brain-stimulating activities such as puzzles, reading, and playing music cannot be overstated. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that people who engage in mentally stimulating activities throughout their lives have up to a 33% decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists believe as we age, these brain-boosting exercises generate neuroplastic changes that help the mind stay sharp.

Sleep is also a crucial aspect of maintaining brain health. Sleep allows the brain to repair and renew itself, and a lack of sleep has been associated with a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. A 2017 studyfound that sleeping less than six hours per night was associated with a higher level of harmful beta-amyloid protein in the brain, a protein involved in Alzheimer’s disease. Another study by Berkeley University found that people who had poor sleep quality at age 50 had an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

The connection between diet and dementia has also been widely examined. Research from Rush University Medical Center found that older adults who followed a Mediterranean-style diet had a 54% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease! Also known as the MIND diet, there is a growing body of evidence that links dietary approaches to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Finally, more evidence points to a link between exercise and cognitive decline. One study by the University of Pittsburgh showed us that engaging in moderate-intensity exercise five days a week can lead to significant improvements in brain function and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This study found that individuals who engaged in moderate-intensity exercise had better cognitive and memory function than those who did not exercise. Another study by the University of Wisconsin had similar findings, showing 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week could lower risk of developing the disease.

Discover more research supporting the relationship between exercise and Alzheimer’s disease.

Lifestyle Modifications and Alzheimer’s Disease

These research studies and others provide new insight into the lifestyle choices that can either promote or protect against Alzheimer’s disease. While there is no magic bullet that can guarantee prevention, experts recommend making changes in the following areas.

Diet: The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest diets on the planet and is often recommended by doctors to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It includes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats that nourish the brain. Studies have shown that following this kind of diet may also help lower inflammation throughout the body, a marker associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Exercise: Regular physical activity has been shown to improve cognitive function in older adults, reduce the risk of dementia, and protect the brain from damage. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, every week.

Sleep: Studies have established a link between the quality of sleep and Alzheimer’s disease risk. Improving sleep habits, such as keeping a regular sleep schedule, avoiding electronics before bedtime, and managing sleep disorders like sleep apnea can improve brain health and reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk.

Mental stimulation: Staying mentally active, such as engaging in creative or challenging activities like learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, or taking coursework, can help keep the brain healthy and decrease the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Social engagement: Social isolation and loneliness have also been identified as risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Staying connected to friends and family can improve brain health and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Stress management: Chronic stress and depression in older adults has been linked to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Finding ways to manage stress, like meditation, tai-chi, or yoga can improve brain function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

All these recommended lifestyle changes are far easier to make in a senior living community like Sonata Senior Living. Staying active and socially engaged in a senior living community promotes mental health and cognitive well-being. Life enrichment programming, stimulating activities, fitness classes, nutritious diningoptions and daily social opportunities—all aspects of brain health are intrinsically part of the Sonata lifestyle.

Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and Brain Health

While much research remains to be done, making a few lifestyle changes can be a powerful tool in protecting you against Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illness. In the meantime, if you’re concerned about your risk, schedule a visit to a senior care community like Serenades Memory Care. Our memory care caregivers can help you develop a comprehensive plan for your long-term care needs, making it easier to stay focused on living your best life.

Can Alzheimer’s Disease be Prevented?

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, early interventions can help slow the progression and improve quality of life.
Schedule a visit to Serenades Memory Care to learn more.


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