According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over five million Americans battle Alzheimer’s each day. The Association believes the number could grow to sixteen million by 2050. Even scarier is that one in three seniors passes away with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. This year, alone, Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia will have a $259 billion estimated price tag for the United States. These costs could increase to $1.1 trillion by 2050. With one in ten people, sixty-five years or older battling Alzheimer’s, one question becomes whether or not there are ways to prevent this from ever happening in the first place. With it being Mental Health Awareness Week, it may be important to look at the steps you can take to reduce your likelihood of battling the disease:

1.) Socializing. It may be one of the simplest ways to keep your brain active, but contact with other human beings allows your mind to remain socially active and working. It can prevent you from abusing substances and needing dual diagnosis treatment centers. Isolation such as watching television by yourself in a dark room will not help you prevent Alzheimer’s. Instead, if you are out at a restaurant with some friends, you may be taking steps that can stop your mind from falling apart. You could also engage with others by volunteering at your local church or by simply going for a walk outside.

2.) Exercising. Staying physically fit can help reduce your chances of getting Alzheimer’s by fifty percent, according to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation. By partaking in around two hours and a half worth of exercise each week, you can stop your mind from eliminating its ability to create new memories. Taking part in cardio exercises in addition to strength training can also help develop your physical body too. Your healthy body and brain could be less likely to seek substances such as drugs or alcohol.

3.) Proper diet. Eating well goes along with exercising well. In order to build a healthy mind and body, it can be helpful to watch exactly what you are consuming. More research is showing there is a strong connection between the signal processors within your brain and metabolic troubles. If you prevent your body from ever having those metabolic problems, inflammation and help preserve your brain.

4.) Sleep. Making sure you go to bed each night by a decent hour seems to be a simple thing. Research shows Americans practice this very well as 66 percent are in bed before midnight. This bodes well for them. However, in Asia, many remain awake throughout the early morning. In Indonesia, many are wide awake before seven in the morning, when most people rise to get ready for the workday. Researchers believe that sleep may be vital to brain health. Different studies have found that inadequate sleep could lead to a buildup of toxic proteins in the brain.

With Alzheimer’s being the sixth highest cause of deaths in America, it stands to reason that more people might wish to take steps to prevent against developing the disease. It may work to help prevent some forms of drug or alcohol abuse from occurring and the need for dual diagnosis treatment centers. While it might not be very easy to keep some of these habits, they can undoubtedly assist your mind in remaining active and not becoming damaged in old age.

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