Wellness Tips

Follow these tips to reduce your risk

By Dr. Philip Painter – UnitedHealthcare Medicare and Retirement Chief Medical Officer

une is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, an annual observance to raise awareness of the devastating impact of Alzheimer’s and to educate people about brain health, including risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.

According to a 2023 report from the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6.7 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s — a number now projected to increase to 13 million by 2050. The same report revealed that more than 150,000 Arizonans live with Alzheimer’s — a number projected to increase 33.3 percent to 200,000 by 2025.

It is more important than ever to learn about this disease along with these six simple tips that can help you improve (or support) brain health, reduce risk of disease and help delay the potential onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

  1. Use it or lose it. Whether it’s crossword puzzles, reading or painting, keeping your brain mentally stimulated may help keep it young.
  2. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to problems with memory and cognitive abilities. Sleep is essential for brain maintenance, like removing built-up toxins in your brain.
  3. Stay social. A study found memory declined at half the rate for social adults. Isolation or loneliness in older adults is associated with a 50 percent increased risk of developing dementia and a 26 percent increased risk of all-cause mortality, according to the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
  4. Make healthier lifestyle choices. Studies show moderate exercise can help improve brain function, especially in the areas responsible for learning and memory. Improving these parts of the brain may fight pre-Alzheimer’s changes often seen in midlife. Talk to your health planner about fitness programs that may be available at no additional cost, like UnitedHealthcare’s RenewActive. Lifestyle choices that help reduce cardiovascular risk, like exercise, a healthy diet, low-to-moderate alcohol consumption and not smoking, appear to also slow brain aging.
  5. Manage chronic illnesses. Common diseases in older adults, such as diabetes and heart disease, may affect brain function. Talk with your health care provider about treatment plans and managing chronic conditions like diabetes.
  6. Get Memory Screenings. It is important to have a memory screening done each year. Having a record can help your health care practitioner’s ability to diagnose memory disorders earlier. Memory screenings can be performed during your annual wellness visit, which is available at no cost to anyone on Medicare. Make sure to ask your physician to perform a memory evaluation the next time you visit the doctor’s office.

Check the list of the top 10 common warning signs. If you feel like you or a loved one is suffering from serious memory loss, contact your health care provider.

We’d like to invite our readers to submit their civil comments, pro or con, on this issue. Email [email protected].


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button