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A study published this month in Stroke journal lists 13 factors linked to optimal brain health. These include the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7, plus six other factors:
- Managing blood pressure
- Keeping healthy cholesterol levels
- Reducing blood sugar
- Increasing physical activity
- Eating a nutritious, balanced diet
- Losing weight, if needed
- Not smoking
- Preventing or treating symptoms of depression
- Reducing social isolation
- Limiting alcohol use
- Combating sleep disorders
- Increasing education and keeping the brain active
- Treating hearing loss
Many of the recommendations to prevent cognitive decline are the same as those that promote ideal cardiovascular health. You shouldn’t wait until you’re 65 to discuss these health action items with your primary care physician or to begin healthier habits, says Ronald M. Lazar, PhD, FAHA, part of the research team.
“Prevention doesn’t start in older age; it exists along the healthcare continuum from pediatrics to adulthood. The evidence in this statement demonstrates that early attention to these factors improves later life outcomes,” says Lazar, who is also a professor of neurology and neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Scientists are learning more about how to prevent cognitive decline before changes to the brain have begun.”
Don’t wait to start making brain and physical wellness a priority. At your next checkup, show your doctor this list and ask him or her if you can test for and discuss all of these important brain-impacting elements.
Here are some of the programs and services AFC offers that address the 13 factors. Click on the names for more information or call 714-593-9630.
- ZAP (Zoom Activities Program)
- Mind Booster educational series
- Group and individual mental health counseling
- Memory Checkups