TYLER (KYTX) - If you knew several healthy lifestyle choices could help prevent Alzheimer's risk factors, would you do them? Another study is showing some simple steps could help prevent the onset of the disease.
Some scientists in Finland are helping many before them prove that steps we take to prevent Alzheimer's might actually be working. The study in Finland showed that exercising, eating healthier food and doing a little brain training *did boost people's memory function.
"The international community has demonstrated that, so here locally as well as Texas and the nation there's a real intentional effort right now to focus on bringing that news to the public," says Nora Gravois with the Alzheimer's Alliance.
She says the national statistic shows that 1 in 8 people over the age of 65 have been affected by Alzheimer's already, and by 2025 it's predicted that the number will get to 1 in 3. She says about 5,000 people just in the East Texas area are dealing with memory loss. That's why it's important to teach younger generations good habits now.
"It's always a good idea to tell yourself, what would it take to keep my heart healthy, because its the same thing that will keep my brain healthy," Gravois says.
That means all the no-brainers: exercise, eating healthy, sleeping without interruption, and controlling your blood pressure. However, keeping your mental health sharp also means engaging in social activity and "brain games."
"Activities like Luminosity which is an online program, also using the old board games we used to play as family members, playing those, but making up new rules. Crossword puzzles, sudoku, all of those are great activities. The importance is that you continue to challenge yourself one level up," Gravois says.
Who knew a game of bingo or mah jongg could be life-saving?
The bottom line is, we don't have a cure for Alzheimer's but we might know how to prevent it. So doctors and caregivers hope our nation, state, and community will catch on, and put their health first.
If you want to learn more about Alzheimer's and you have someone you love who's struggling with this disease, make sure you come here to the Alzheimer's Alliance. It has a lot of resources including books and DVDs you can rent out. You can also talk to a social worker there.
For more information on the organization and some upcoming events, click here.