Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it affects more 6.2 million Americans and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys thought, memory and thinking skills, and eventually the ability for a person to carry out the simple and daily activities. Although the cause is still unknown, scientists are learning more every day about Alzheimer’s disease and what healthy behaviors can be done to reduce your risk and manage this illness.
Here are some suggestions that will improve your overall health and well-being but may also play a role in reducing risk for Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline:
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity improves thinking, reduces risk of depression and anxiety, and helps you sleep better.
- Engage in social and intellectually stimulating activities. Reading books, making crafts, solving puzzles, engaging in social activities, and playing games can help lower the risk of mild cognitive impairment.
- Control type 2 diabetes. Controlling blood sugar levels can improve the ability to clearly think, learn, and remember.
- Lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. High blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol are known to increase the risk of developing dementia. Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Stop smoking. Quitting smoking now may help maintain brain health and can reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses.
- Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can affect the way you feel mentally and physically.
- Talk to your health care provider. People with memory and thinking concerns should check with their doctor to find out whether their symptoms are due to Alzheimer’s or another treatable condition.
Your Employee Assistance Program Can Help
If you or a loved one are suffering with memory-related health issues, your Component Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can provide you with free and confidential support. Services include counseling, mental health resources, and referrals for additional treatment plans or cognitive assessments. EAP services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information, contact your Component EAP, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.