Scientists now believe that the brain changes seen in Alzheimer’s and dementia may begin many years before symptoms appear, so it is more important than ever that we treat our brains as vital organs and pay attention to our brain health.
Early assessment of cognitive health is critical both to keep our brains healthy and to intervene where there are signs of decline. Just as there are things you can do to reduce the risk of heart disease or diabetes, there are steps you can take to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and possibly prevent the disease from taking root.
UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is focusing on brain health as an important part of the path to a cure for Alzheimer’s: there are things we can all do right now.
Most adults say they would engage in brain healthy activities if they knew what to do. Even children can benefit from learning about brain health! Will you commit to do something today to improve your brain health?
Maintain good overall health
Many things you do to protect your health generally are also good for your brain:
Get regular exercise
For more information, listen to our Alzheimer’s Talks on exercise with Dr. Laura Baker.
Participate in research: EXERT Study: Building Memories through Exercise.
Eat a healthy diet
Research suggests Alzheimer's risk may be reduced by following the MIND diet as well as maintaining a healthy weight and managing your blood sugar.
Participate in research: MIND Study: Diet Intervention to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.
Get plenty of sleep
Insufficient or poor-quality sleep may lead to higher Alzheimer’s risk.
For more information, listen to our Alzheimer’s Talks on sleep with Dr. Jeffrey Iliff.
Protect your head
Certain head injuries could increase your risk for Alzheimer’s. Learn more by listening to these Alzheimer’s Talks:
Keep your heart healthy
If exercise and diet are not enough, work with your doctor to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in healthy ranges; not doing so can damage not only your heart but also the blood vessels in your brain.
Learn more about the research from the Framingham Heart Study.
Avoid tobacco and limit alcohol
Keep your brain challenged and engaged
Stay socially engaged
Build or maintain a strong social network of positive relationships.
Find ways to manage stress and depression
For more information, check out our Alzheimer’s Talks:
- Stress and Alzheimer’s with Dr. Robert Rissman
- Studying the Link between Alzheimer’s and Depression with Dr. Scott Mackin
Seek opportunities for lifelong learning and mental stimulation
We are promoting brain health
UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is actively engaged in improving brain health
- With WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s in the lead, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is developing a brain health initiative to change the way Americans take care of their brains. We are working with consumers and the healthcare sector to make a “check-up from the neck up” as common as regular attention to heart health.
- Brain Health Is Women’s Health, a report by WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s and the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health, found that only 18% of nurse practitioners often raise the issue of memory and brain health, while 85% of nurse practitioners said they would benefit from additional resources and training to better screen, manage, and refer patients with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. Learn more about early detection of Alzheimer’s.
- AfricanAmericansAgainstAlzheimer’s arranges local performances of Forget Me Not, an educational play about Alzheimer’s, and distributes materials on brain health.
- LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s is developing a Hispanic Brain Health campaign with the Administration for Community Living, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Faith United Against Alzheimer's Coalition works with national and local faith partners to create educational materials and raise awareness of brain health among faith communities, through Memory Sunday and a Day of Prayer.
- VeteransAgainstAlzheimer’s has developed a fact sheet on the importance of brain health among U.S. veterans.
- Our free Alzheimer’s Talks teleconferences regularly discuss brain health. In addition to the specific calls listed above, here are a few calls about brain health in general.