Alzheimer’s disease is a big worry for many women in their 50s and older. It can be especially scary if you have seen a loved one struggle with dementia.
You may have been told that all you can do is hope for a cure, but there is a lot of encouraging research that shows you can lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s symptoms or slow its progression if you already have it.
Alzheimer’s is a complex disease with many risk factors, including age and genetics. However, experts now believe that Alzheimer’s risk begins in the brain long before symptoms appear, often in middle age. Thus, brain health should always be a priority.
The chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease goes up as you get older. More than half of the people who have Alzheimer’s are women, and the risk goes up for women over 50. It is not clear what causes this difference, but it is thought that a mix of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors play a role.
Furthermore, women usually live longer than men, which also makes them more likely to get Alzheimer’s. The number of women over 50 with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to grow in the coming years as the population ages.
But don’t you worry. There is good news despite all these alarming statistics. There are things you can do to stop or slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.
So today, I will be sharing some tips for women over 50 to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Tips to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
The Alzheimer’s Association says that ongoing research is looking into a wide range of Alzheimer’s disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure and not getting enough exercise, as well as how keeping your brain healthy might help prevent or delay the disease.
Scientists all over the world working on dementia research agree that prevention is very important. Changes to your diet and how you deal with stress, for example, can make a big difference in your risk factors.
Let us look at some of the most important ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease by changing your lifestyle and habits. Do not forget that it is never too early or too late to start putting your brain health first.
Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
Your diet is a very important part of how healthy you are. A diet that is good for your heart is also good for your brain health. You should eat a wide range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Do not eat too much cholesterol, saturated fat, or trans fat.
Over the past few decades, research has shown that there is a strong link between diet and dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association says that a diet that is good for the heart may also end up being good for the brain.
For example, eating a Mediterranean-style diet, which focuses on fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, unsaturated oils, and proteins from plants, can help protect your brain. According to research, people who eat more like those in the Mediterranean are less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease.
The National Institutes of Health says that a Mediterranean diet can lower the risk of dementia that comes with age, but research studies on the DASH diet are also showing positive results.
The DASH Diet also encourages people to eat more vegetables, whole grains, fish, chicken, beans, and vegetable oils.
Regular physical activity provides a double benefit: it reduces your risk of heart disease and also helps maintain good blood flow to your brain. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
Try to incorporate a mix of aerobic exercises such as walking, cycling, or swimming, along with strength training exercises like lifting weights or doing yoga. Remember, it’s not about how intense your workout is; it’s about consistency.
Aerobic exercise is good for your heart, lungs, and circulation. It is also good for your brain health. Strength-building exercises work your major muscles, in the arms, legs, stomach, back, and shoulders. This helps you do the things you do every day. This kind of exercise also helps you control the amount of sugar in your blood and lowers your risk of diabetes, which is a risk factor for dementia. You should do exercises that build strength at least twice a week, if not more.
You do not have to start a strict exercise plan to start feeling better. In fact, putting on your shoes and taking a quick walk around where you live every day can be enough to bring more blood and oxygen to the brain.
Manage Your Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is another crucial step in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, which can all increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
A study conducted revealed that individuals with obesity had a 34 percent higher likelihood of developing dementia compared to those of normal weight. Furthermore, the risk was even higher for women, with a 39 percent increased risk.
But what is the connection between obesity and Alzheimer’s disease?
All cells use glucose for energy, including neurons. They can only absorb glucose with normal insulin function. Insulin resistance can result from obesity, especially abdominal obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, and poor sleep. This condition leads to type 2 diabetes, which increases the risk of dementia by 60%.
Thus, losing weight is the best way to prevent or reverse insulin resistance, which will in turn prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
READ ALSO: The Best Exercise For Weight Loss Over 50
Do Mental Activities
Keeping your mind busy can also help lower your risk of Alzheimer’s. Do things that make your brain work, like reading, writing, playing an instrument, or putting together puzzles.
Keeping your brain in good shape means learning new things, giving your mind new challenges, and staying socially active. So, take the painting class you have always wanted to take or join a book club. There is never a bad time to start working out your brain.
The more you challenge yourself and your cognitive skills, the more likely you are to reduce the onset of dementia.
This research shows that cognitive training is a good way for anyone to keep their brain working well and improve some parts of their memory. It also showed that playing online games that test reasoning and memory skills can help adults over 50 improve their memory and reasoning skills and learn how to use public transportation and manage their money.
Get Good Sleep
A good night’s sleep is good for your brain and body. Poor sleep can cause Alzheimer’s disease symptoms like memory and thinking issues.
Lack of sleep over a long period of time, especially in middle age, can hurt the brain. When you do not get enough sleep, you mess up the brain’s important nightly cleaning process. Neurons produce less beta-amyloid and tau proteins, which are linked to Alzheimer’s disease, and release more as waste during deep sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common issue that causes people to stop breathing and gasp for air. This disorder causes memory loss and changes in brain structure.
Obesity, age, and weak muscles are risk factors for sleep apnea, emphasizing the need to lose weight and exercise.
See a doctor if you can not sleep. Therapy and other treatments can help you sleep better.
Socializing helps your brain too. Spend time with friends and family, volunteer, or join a club or group.
Isolation can hurt our health, including the health of our brains. People who stay active in their communities may be less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease or dementia later in life. So, it is important to put a high priority on making and keeping a strong network of friends.
You do not have to be a social butterfly or the center of attention, but it is important to spend time in person with people who care about you and make you feel heard.
Even though, as people get older, they tend to spend more time alone, it is never too late to meet new people and make new friends.
Here are some ways to stay active in your community:
- Volunteer: Help a cause you care about by volunteering your time and skills.
- Join a club or social group: Look for groups or clubs where people share interests or hobbies.
- Visit your local community centers or senior centers: Take part in activities and programs that are available in your area.
- Take group classes: Join a gym’s group fitness classes or think about taking classes at a community college.
- Get to know your neighbors: Talk to the people around you and make connections with them.
- Make plans with friends on a regular basis: Set up a weekly date or get-together with friends.
- Get out and see what is around you: Go to parks, museums, and other public places where you can meet people.
You can improve your cognitive health, make meaningful connections, and have a fulfilling retirement in a senior living community by actively seeking these social opportunities.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Women
Alzheimer’s disease affects women differently than men. Alzheimer’s is more common in women, which is partly because they live longer on average. This higher risk over a woman’s lifetime shows how important it is to know the specific problems women face with the disease.
Hormonal influences also play a part. During menopause, a woman’s hormone levels change in many ways, including a drop in estrogen. Estrogen is thought to protect the health of the brain, and a drop in estrogen levels may make women more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s also affects men and women differently because of their genes. Some genetic differences, like having the APOE4 allele of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene, make the risk of getting the disease higher. Research shows that women with the APOE4 gene are more likely to get Alzheimer’s than men with the same genetic variation.
In addition to biological reasons, women often take care of people with Alzheimer’s disease more than men do. Caregiving can be hard on women’s mental, physical, and financial health, as well as their overall quality of life.
In terms of how the symptoms show up, some studies show that women with Alzheimer’s may have more noticeable memory problems than men do in the early stages of the disease. But it is important to remember that these differences can vary from person to person, and the overall progression of symptoms is the same for both men and women.
Preventing, diagnosing, and treating Alzheimer’s disease requires understanding these gender-specific aspects. The unique effects of Alzheimer’s on women are being studied to develop targeted interventions for both men and women with the disease.
Preventing Alzheimer’s disease may seem difficult, but you can control your health. A healthy lifestyle, mental and social activity, and regular medical checkups can lower your risk of this disease.
Regular checkups can detect Alzheimer’s disease early, making it easier to manage. These checkups allow your doctor to evaluate your risk factors, monitor your symptoms, and suggest preventive measures.
It is never too late to make healthier choices. So, take charge of your health today and prepare for a healthier tomorrow.
Together, we can prevent Alzheimer’s disease, defeat it and create a world without it.
♡ Love ♡,