Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

A healthy brain

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Today, an estimated 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is encouraging individuals to take
ten steps to promote good brain health for optimum aging.

Being proactive about your brain health is something that individuals of all
ages should do,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s President and CEO. “While
we work toward a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are steps people can take
right now to help reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other dementia
related illnesses
.”

To reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s and other dementia’s, do the following:

Eat Well. Adopt a low-fat diet rich in fruits and veggies. Limit intake of red
meats, fried and processed foods, salt and sugar. In general, foods that are “heart
healthy” are also “brain healthy.”

Stay Active. Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain and can also help
improve mood and overall well being. Brisk walking benefits brain health, while
aerobics can boost your endurance; weight training builds strength and flexibility.

Learn New Things. Learn a new language, take a cooking class, or try a new
sport or game. Even something as simple as brushing your teeth with your non-       dominant hand stimulates the brain by forcing it to think outside of its routine.

Get Enough Sleep. Getting a good, consistent sleep every night is vital; at least
seven to nine hours is ideal. Insomnia or sleep apnea can have serious physical
effects and negatively affect memory and thinking.

Mind your Meds. Medication can affect everyone differently, especially as
you age. Talk to your doctor or local pharmacist about any new drugs and make
sure you understand when and how often to take it.

Stop Smoking and Limit Alcohol. Smoking can increase the risk of serious illnesses,
while too much alcohol can affect memory, impair judgment and present
safety issues.

Stay Connected. Social interaction and maintaining an active social life are essential
for brain health, cognitive stimulation and mood. Share a meal with friends and family, play board games, or hang out. Engage in your community.

Know Your Blood Pressure. Blood pressure can impact your cognitive functioning.
Check  it regularly.

See your doctor. Maintain regular checkups. Health screenings are vital to
managing chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity,
all of which can impact brain health. Speak openly with your physician about any
concerns or questions you have about your health.

Get a Memory Screening. Our brains need regular checkups, just as other parts
of our bodies do. A memory screening is a quick, easy, non-invasive exam for
our minds. Talk to your doctor about getting a screening as part of your annual
wellness exam or call Alzheimer’s Foundation of America at (866) 232-8484.

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