Preventing Dementia With Healthy Behaviors
A new Alzheimer’s disease medicine, the first in nearly two decades, will be available soon. However, some experts believe the improvement seen in Dementia patients will be limited, and that it will likely come with a high cost.
Nonetheless, the news of its clearance by the US Food and Drug Administration generated national headlines. The focus reflects the devastating impact dementia has on individuals, family, and society, as well as the absence of effective treatment alternatives.
What Science Tells Us About Preventing Dementia
Millions of adults could reduce their chances of ever needing such a medication. To do so, they’ll need to collaborate with their primary care physicians and rely on the power of prevention to maintain their cognitive abilities.
That’s why Deborah Levine, M.D., M.P.H. of the University of Michigan, and a national panel of experts published a guide for medical providers on this topic.
Alzheimer’s illness is feared by many people. By helping people take steps now, they might prevent or slow eventual dementia, by making positive changes toward a more healthy lifestyle.
The first step is to realize that people with seven significant modifiable risk factors have an increased chance of dementia.
Depression, hypertension, inactivity, diabetes, obesity, hyperlipidemia, poor diet, smoking, social isolation, excessive alcohol use, sleep difficulties, and hearing loss are among them.
Second Stage Options
The second stage is to assist people in taking medication, lifestyle changes, and other measures to reduce their dementia risk.
Lowering future dementia risk can be accomplished through lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, cigarette and alcohol usage, depression symptoms, and BMI, as well as boosting physical activity, good food intake, and social interactions.
This has been proven by decades of research, albeit the magnitude of the effect varies greatly.
“Dementia is not inevitable,” said Levine, a primary care provider at Michigan Medicine’s University of Michigan Health. “Evidence is increasing that healthy behaviors and reducing vascular risk factors can help people maintain brain health and prevent dementia.”
According to Levine, who directs the Cognitive Health Services Research Program and treats patients at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center, these measures can help preserve cognitive function while also lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
“We must address the huge disparities that put women, Black, Hispanic, and low-income Americans at a considerably higher risk of dementia,” said Levine, a member of the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.
She went on to say that it’s never too late in life to start working on reducing cognitive risk factors.
“We don’t have any medicines that can prevent dementia, therefore it’s critical to safeguard your mental health.”
This news about dementia and aging research
University of Michigan (http://www.med.umich.edu/) is the source.
Kara Gavin (University of Michigan) is the person to contact.
Open access to original research.
“A Primary Care Agenda for Brain Health: An American Heart Association Scientific Statement.” Deborah Levine
A healthy brain is essential for a longer and more fulfilling existence. However, the expected aging of the population poses new concerns in terms of preserving quality of life. As we get older, neuronal activity becomes more compromised, affecting functions like cognition and leaving the brain more vulnerable to disease. There are few treatment alternatives once pathology-induced deterioration begins. As a result, prevention is crucial, and primary care can play an important role.
The goal of this American Heart Association scientific statement is to offer primary care physicians with an up-to-date summary for assessing and modifying risk variables at the individual level in order to maintain brain health and avoid cognitive impairment.
These risk factors include behaviors, diseases, and lifestyles that develop from early adulthood into maturity, and can be diagnosed and controlled by primary care professionals on a regular basis.
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