Q: What’s the best way to avoid Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common forms of memory loss, affecting more than 5 million Americans. It typically appears in adults over age 65 and the earliest symptom is usually difficulty with short-term memory. If you are having difficulty with memory, your primary care provider can do a test to help check for memory loss. If needed, your primary care provider can then refer you to a geriatrician or neurologist.
While there are no guaranteed ways to prevent dementia, there are a number of lifestyle changes that may reduce your risk. Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains, can be helpful. The Mediterranean diet is a good choice. Getting regular physical activity is also important. The current recommendation is to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week (this could be 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week), or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week. Keeping your brain stimulated with activities and learning is also important. And if you have high blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes, make sure these stay well controlled.
Lastly, smoking can increase your risk. If you are a current smoker and are interested in quitting smoking, your primary care provider can provide you with helpful tips and treatments for smoking cessation.
—Arielle Gordon, FNP
Arielle Gordon enjoys connecting patients with the tools and information they need to make their own decisions and lead healthier, happier lives. She has a particular interest in preventative care, patient education, and healthy aging for older adults.