It seems that clogged arteries can be bad for more than just your heart. According to a recent article published by the American Heart Association (AHA), clogged arteries can also affect blood flow to your brain and cause dementia.
The AHA reports that cerebrovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease may work together to cause cognitive impairment. This combined disorder may be the most common type of dementia in older persons, according to the researchers.
Although not exactly good news, this link at least opens the door for preventative measures that can be taken against the onset of dementia. The AHA suggests that you may be able to reduce the risk of dementia by taking the same steps you would take to lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. With that in mind here are five tips for lowering your risk of heart disease and dementia:
- Boost your nutritional health by eating a diet that includes monounsaturated fats, whole grains, beans and legumes, veggies, fruit, and lean meat.
- Maintain a healthy weight and avoid the strain of carrying around excess pounds.
- Participate in physical activity every day by going for a walk, riding a bike, swimming at the local pool, or hitting the exercise machine.
- Control your blood sugar by avoiding sugary foods and snacks high on the glycemic index.
- Monitor your blood pressure and make sure it stays within a normal range.
Remember this message from the AHA: what’s good for your heart is good for your brain.
They also suggest that you get screening to identify your risk for cognitive impairment. Early screening could help to prevent or postpone the onset of dementia. The AHA says that dementia affects nearly one-third of those over the age of 80, and results in health costs of more than $40,000 per patient per year in the United States.