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Preventing Alzheimer's: Here's 6 Ways You May Reduce Your Risk

Alzheimer's robs its victims of their memories and there is no cure, but there are things you can do to prevent Alzheimer's disease.

With Alzheimer's, two types of brain proteins, called tau tangles and beta-amyloid plaques, grow out of control. According to Harvard Health, these proteins destroy brain cells and cause symptoms like confusion, memory loss and personality changes.

Yet, there are many preventive measures that can be taken to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Here are six ways you can help prevent this debilitating condition and protect your brain health.

1. Exercise

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According to Alzheimer’s Society UK, the results of 11 studies revealed that Alzheimer’s risk was reduced by 45% for middle-aged people who exercised regularly. Older people have also been scientifically shown to benefit from exercise, which helps improve memory and thinking.

2. Stop smoking

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There are chemical toxins in cigarettes that can increase brain inflammation, cause vascular bleeding and add stress to cells, which are all tied to Alzheimer’s disease development. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Society UK notes that a series of systematic reviews found smoking may increase Alzheimer’s risk by 30% to 50%.

3. Eat a healthy diet

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Marshall said that eating a Mediterranean diet “has been shown to help thwart Alzheimer's or slow its progression.”

One NIA-funded study published recently in the journal Neurology revealed that both the Mediterranean and MIND diets (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) helped reduce the signs of Alzheimer’s disease and lowered amyloid plaque levels in the brain.

4. Manage your heart health

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Both the Alzheimer’s Association and the NIA point out that factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, also increase your Alzheimer’s risk.

In fact, a recent meta-analysis of six studies published in The Lancet Neurology showed that people taking low blood pressure medication cut their Alzheimer’s disease risk by one-third.

5. Stay socially connected

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While the reasons why socializing helps cut your risk are still unclear, the Alzheimer’s Association says that social connections may shore up nerve cell connections in the brain, making memory and thinking flow more smoothly.

6. Get a good night’s rest

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A study in Britain published recently in the journal Nature Communications tracked the behavior of almost 8,000 people over the course of 20 years, starting when they were 50. Compared with people who slept seven hours a night in their 50s and 60s, those who slept six hours or less a night were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia.

7. More information

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