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CLEVELAND – September is World Alzheimer’s Month.
While there currently is no cure for the disease, there are healthy steps a person can take to reduce their risk or possibly prevent it.
Jessica Caldwell, PhD, neuropsychologist with Cleveland Clinic, said the first tip is to exercise.
“The reason exercise is so important is exercise multitasks. First and foremost, when you exercise, a chemical is released in your brain immediately and over the long term that supports your memory system in the brain,” Dr. Caldwell explained.
Dr. Caldwell said exercise can also help with the ability to grow new neural pathways and learn new things.
In addition, it can aid in reducing stress hormones and inflammation in the body – both of which, if chronic, can cause problems for your memory system and your Alzheimer’s disease risk.
So, what kind of exercises should you be doing and for how long?
Dr Caldwell said any kind of moderate intensity exercise, like a brisk walk, with a goal of 150 minutes per week is fine.
Her second tip for preventing Alzheimer’s disease is to get enough sleep.
She said you should be getting between seven and eight hours of continuous sleep per night.
If you don’t, it could impact what you remember the next day.
“The other reason is much more directly related to Alzheimer’s disease, and that is when we sleep, during certain stages of our sleep and not others, our brain actually clears debris,” she said. “One of the types of debris our brain clears is amyloid, and amyloid is a protein that builds up in unhelpful and pathological ways when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease.”
Dr. Caldwell’s third tip is to consider adopting a Mediterranean diet, which focuses on eating healthy fats, more leafy greens and whole foods.
Research has shown this kind of diet is good for your brain and heart health.
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