5 Healthy Habits That May Help.
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia affecting more than 6 million Americans of all ages. It’s a progressive brain disease that causes a decline in memory, reasoning, and thinking skills.
Alzheimer’s symptoms can begin with simple forgetfulness and eventually lead to severe cognitive issues making it difficult to carry out daily activities. Many Alzheimer’s patients also experience mood and behavior changes, disorientation, and difficulty talking, swallowing, and walking.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the fifth-leading cause of death among Americans age 65 and older. It’s estimated that one in nine people age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s.
Lifestyle Habits To Protect Your Brain
There is currently no cure for this debilitating disease. However, research has shown that adopting key healthy lifestyle habits can help to prevent Alzheimer’s or help to slow down pending cognitive decline. Establish these habits to help keep your brain sharp and healthy.
Eat A Balanced Diet
For years, studies have suggested that what we eat affects our brain. Certain foods can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation – two of the main culprits of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, along with lean protein – particularly protein sources containing omega-3 fatty acids – may help improve memory and prevent Alzheimer’s. This type of diet is often referred to as the Mediterranean diet and is known for improving cardiovascular health and lowering high cholesterol.
We all know that physical exercise is good for your overall health, but it is crucial to brain health. It actually helps increase the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
Exercise also elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to your body and brain. Proper blood flow ensures that your brain is receiving its much-needed oxygen and nutrients in order to function. The World Health Organization recommends that older adults participate in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity every week. This can include walking, swimming, or cycling.
Staying socially engaged with others is an essential factor for a healthy and balanced life. It not only improves your mental health, but it can help stimulate your brain as well. Studies show that people who suffer from loneliness have less cognitive function.
A great way to be social is by being active in your community or volunteering. Exercise classes are also a great way to develop a social network. Activities such as dancing get your heart rate up, allow you to meet new people, and strengthen your brain because they require mental focus to learn steps and routines.
Smoking doesn’t do you or your body any favors. It not only increases your risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung disease, and other health conditions, it also negatively impacts your brain. This dangerous habit has been found to literally shrink your brain.
Of course, not everyone who smokes will get Alzheimer’s; however, several studies show a correlation between smoking and dementia. Smoking deprives the brain of oxygen while also causing oxidative stress and inflammation throughout the body. Smoking is one habit you definitely want to break.
Get Enough Sleep
Just as the rest of your body needs sleep, so does your brain. However, when you’re asleep, your brain is still very much active. Your nighttime slumber allows your brain to cleanse and wash away toxins and waste that have formed throughout the day.
When you’re in a deep sleep, your body temperature drops, and the brain begins to produce slow, rhythmic electrical waves. It’s during this stage of sleep that the brain can reduce the accumulation of precursor proteins known as beta-amyloid and tau, two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s.
Try to get at least seven to eight hours of rest nightly. Establish a good sleep schedule and nightly routine that promotes a healthy sleeping environment. Quality is just as important as quantity when it comes to sleep.
Improve Your Lifestyle Improve Your Brain
Even though there’s still a lot to learn on whether or not we can prevent Alzheimer’s, there are still many measures you can take to reduce your risk factors of developing it. Living a healthy lifestyle and making good choices is always a good idea, and it is never too late to start.
For more information on Alzheimer’s or disease prevention, contact a SaludVIP provider near you!
All your life, you’ve heard that you should exercise regularly to stay healthy, but you don’t hear much about staying mentally fit. When we’re younger, such a task isn’t so hard. But as you age, that starts to change. It’s never too late to start living a healthier life.
These tips are designed to help you stay mentally fit as you age:
1. Read More
Look, you’re doing that right now. Reading keeps the mind sharp. In fact, the scientific journal Neurology reported that reading and writing more in your later years resulted in a 32% decrease in the likelihood of memory loss and cognitive decline.
2. Feed Your Brain
A healthy diet is one of the most pivotal factors in staying mentally fit. Reducing dairy and red meat consumption has been shown to improve your overall health and your brain health. Eat a diet filled with whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, vegetables, and fruit.
3. Get Moving
You knew this was coming. Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean exercise goes out the window. In fact, it’s more important than ever.
Want to know an interesting fact? The simple act of walking sends shockwaves up from the foot, stimulating your arteries. This gets more blood to your brain and therefore more oxygen. This results in a healthier brain.
4. Touch Your Toes
Just like walking helps with increased cerebral circulation (that’s the flow of blood to your brain), so does stretching. Why? Because as we age, our circulation isn’t what it used to be. With all that walking you’re about to do, you should make sure you’re in the best shape to do that.
5. Get Social
Loneliness can truly hamper someone’s brain health. Cambridge conducted an interesting study where they followed seniors for over a decade and found that those with a busy social life had a 70% lower cognitive decline.
6. Listen To Music
Music has been shown to improve the mind. You hear a song and it can transport you back in time, bring about a memory you had forgotten all about. There is a strong tie between our relationship to music and our memory.
7. Learn A New Language
You might be questioning this one. Why learn a new language if you might never get to visit the country of origin for language? Learning a new language trains the brain to think more quickly, fine-tuning your processing skills.
8. Find A New Hobby
If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. It’s true. We have to constantly exercise our minds. One way to do that is to start a new hobby. Our hobbies tend to shift as we get older. We find ourselves having to branch out and do things we might not have done when we were younger.
Water is essential for almost every bodily function, from controlling our body temperature to pumping blood to our heart. Hydration is essential at every age, but it becomes more of a concern the older we get. Hydration in older adults is vital for several reasons. As we age, our sense of thirst begins to diminish. Unless we become mindful of our fluid intake, we risk becoming dehydrated.
What Is Dehydration?
Dehydration is when we lose more fluids than we consume. There is the misconception that we’re only dehydrated when we’re thirsty. Unfortunately, thirst is not always an indicator that you’re dehydrated and need to take a drink. There are several other signs that can warn you that you need to take action and hydrate.
The most common symptoms of dehydration in older adults include:
- Dark-colored urine, urinating less frequently
- Fatigue, or feeling weak
- Rapid heart rate and low blood pressure
- Muscle cramps in arms or legs
- Dry mouth
- Dry skin and lips
- Confusion, decreased cognitive function
How Much Water Do You Need To Stay Hydrated?
The best way to prevent dehydration is to simply drink more throughout the day. How much more? According to the American Heart Association, the amount of water each person needs can vary. It depends on several factors, including climatic conditions, clothing worn, and exercise intensity and duration.
In general, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine suggest that each day women get a total of about 2.7 liters (L), or 11 cups, of fluid and men get about 3.7 L (16 cups). It’s best to discuss your fluid intake with your doctor. They can review your medical history and conditions and then determine your specific needs. Not all fluid has to be water, however. Your morning coffee counts toward your fluid consumption for the day.
Why Is Hydration So Important In Older Adults?
As previously mentioned, seniors lose their proper sense of thirst the older they get making hydration in older adults sometimes a challenge. This not only leads to dehydration but can lead to a host of other complications.
- Kidney Function – Extreme dehydration for an extended period of time can cause severe damage to the kidneys. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering out waste from the blood via urine. In addition, the kidneys help manage the balance of electrolytes and salts in the blood. When the renal system is compromised or shuts down, toxins begin to build up in the blood. Electrolytes and fluid also build up in the body, causing swelling. Severe renal failure results in severe illness or even death.
- Urinary Incontinence – It may sound counterintuitive to drink more when you cannot control your bladder. Many seniors actually avoid drinking in an attempt to prevent these embarrassing moments. However, dehydration only compounds the problem even more. A reduction in fluids can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTI is one of the most commonly diagnosed infections in older adults. When left untreated, UTIs in older adults can cause serious complications, including kidney damage and sepsis. If you suffer from urinary incontinence, it may be embarrassing, but it is vital that you stay well hydrated. You should consult your doctor for possible treatment methods for your incontinence.
- Digestion – Hydration is a key component to keeping your internal pipes flowing properly and regularly. Dehydration often results in constipation, in addition to gastritis, acid reflux, and in some cases, ulcers. Drinking water helps produce digestive acid that, in turn, helps your body break down food. When your body doesn’t get enough water, it’s unable to absorb the proper amount of nutrients from your food.
- Brain Function – Our brains are made up of 80 percent water. When we become dehydrated, even the tiniest bit, our brain has difficulty functioning, often leaving us confused and forgetful. Furthermore, prolonged dehydration in older adults causes brain cells to actually shrink. This has been linked to a symptom of the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
How To Stay Hydrated
It may seem like an easy fix – drink more water – but staying hydrated isn’t always the easiest, especially if you are constantly on the go. Here are some simple steps to help keep you properly hydrated.
Carry water with you, always. If you always have water on you, it makes it easy to take a sip here and there. Carry a refillable water bottle with you wherever you go. If you spend most of your time at home, have a water pitcher nearby that you use and can keep track of your fluid intake.
Eat foods with a high water content. If you find it difficult to drink fluids on a regular basis, try adding some foods to your diet that are high in water. Fruits and vegetables, such as cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce, and celery, are great for snacking on and will also help increase your water intake. Soups and broths are also another great way to increase your fluid intake.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake. Alcohol is the number one way to strip your body of hydration. It’s a diuretic, which causes you to urinate more frequently, eliminating valuable fluids. Alcohol also depletes your body of the necessary electrolytes and minerals it so desperately needs to function.
Hydrate For Better Health
Hydration in older adults is important for a number of reasons, including optimum health. Our entire body, even our brains, needs water to function. We might find it annoying having to run to the bathroom several times a day, but that is a small price we must pay for Better Health. So, pour yourself a glass of water and drink up!
Your kidneys are critical for achieving Better Health. Every 30 minutes, your kidneys filter all the blood in your body. They remove waste, toxins, and excess fluid. Most people have two kidneys, but you can live with one (or less).
5 Ways to Keep Your Kidneys Healthy
Drink plenty of fluids (64 ounces of water daily) to help flush your kidneys.
Don’t smoke. Smoking slows blood flow to your kidneys, which can reduce their function.
Eat healthy, low-fat foods and exercise to reduce your risk of high blood sugar and high blood pressure.
Limit the use of over-the-counter painkillers, like ibuprofen and naproxen, as these drugs can harm your kidneys.
If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, be sure to have your kidney function monitored regularly.
An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits including reducing the risk of flu illnesses and hospitalizations.
1. A flu shot can save your life:
The flu can cause some serious complications that sometimes require hospitalization, such as dehydration, worsening of chronic illnesses, bacterial pneumonia, ear infections and sinus infections.
2. Shot helps with herd immunity:
If we all get immunizations, of course we can’t spread the virus elsewhere, so we’re all protected from it.
3. Most people are eligible to get the flu shot:
Everyone should get an influenza (flu) vaccine every season, especially after the age of 55.
4. The flu shot changes each year:
Before each flu season, the CDC determines which strains of influenza appear to most likely to occur that year. The vaccine will still reduce your chances of contracting certain strains of the virus and if you do get sick, having the vaccine can significantly reduce the severity of your symptoms.
5. You won’t get the flu from the flu shot:
A common misconception is that you can contract the flu from a flu vaccine, but that is not possible because the shot uses a deadened form of the virus.
Call us to schedule your flu vaccine at any of our clinics!
If you’re concerned about developing breast cancer, you might be wondering if there are steps you can take to help prevent breast cancer. Some risk factors, such as family history, can’t be changed. However, there are lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk.
What can I do to reduce my risk of breast cancer?
Limit alcohol: The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. The general recommendation is to limit yourself to no more than one drink a day, as even small amounts increase risk.
Maintain a healthy weight: If your weight is healthy, work to maintain that weight. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy strategies to accomplish this. Reduce the number of calories you eat each day and slowly increase the amount of exercise.
Be physically active: Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which helps prevent breast cancer. Most healthy adults should aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity.
Be vigilant about Breast Cancer Detection: If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes, schedule an appointment with us. Also, ask your doctor when to begin mammograms and other screening based on your personal history.
At SaludVIP, our mission is to offer the highest quality of care with excellence, integrity, compassion and innovation. To pursue our patient’s health and wellness, as well as the love for the important things in life such as family, friends and life itself.
You can call us at 844-912-5292 or visit our website at www.saludvip.com to learn more about us and the medical service we provide.