Number of cases: about 5 million
Mind your heart. As many as 80% of people with Alzheimer disease also have heart disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association (AA). That’s because any condition that damages blood vessels–such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol–can increase your risk of developing dementia. Follow the guidelines for staving off heart disease.
Get moving. Regular exercise improves your heart health and may boost blood and oxygen flow to the brain. It also helps reduce the loss of brain cells in older people, according to the AA. Get physical for about 30 minutes daily, whether it’s walking, riding a bike, gardening or doing yoga.
Be social. Interacting with others–whether it’s through sports or volunteer activities–helps keep your mind active and reduces stress, which can destroy brain cells.
Protect your noggin. Head trauma and Alzheimer disease are linked, so be sure to wear a seat belt when driving and a helmet when biking.
Source: Health Monitor at Home Winter 2013