Lifestyle improvements such as healthy diets, scheduled exercising and no smoking, significantly reduces Alzheimer’s disease risk in seniors, recent studies show.
Right now, almost 6 million people in the United States live with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia’s. This number is expected to grow rapidly over the next 30 years as the senior citizen population increases.
New research presented on the first day of the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference 2019 suggests that healthy lifestyle choices — including eating right, exercising, and not smoking and can significantly reduce this risk, even among seniors with a genetic link to this disease.
Lifestyle Improvements: Study Results
The first study looked at five healthy-lifestyle factors — diet, exercising at least 150 minutes a week, no smoking, limiting alcohol intake and socializing. Participants who adhered to this protocol showed a 60% decrease in risk. Indeed, even those people who just did 2 modifications showed a 37%decrease in risk. The power of these lifestyle improvements startled even surprised the researchers.
A second study in the United Kingdom, tested over 150,000 people. It found that people with a 60% genetic risk high for developing dementia, reduced it by 30%, after making these lifestyle changes. In this group the changes included a healthy diet, exercising regularly, no smoking and drinking in moderation.
These results are exciting as it underscores the importance of a healthy environment in warding off disease. All the more impressive as currently there is no cure for this deadly illness. Furthermore, these results also show that lifestyle changes can sidetrack a genetic predisposition.
Moving forward, the Alzheimer’s Association is leading the U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER).
This study is the first large-scale examination of combined interventions, including physical exercise, nutritional counseling, and cognitive and social stimulation. Results are expected in 2023. More good news is expected from these study results.