Improving Lifestyle Prevents Stroke and Dementia

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A healthy lifestyle is often defined by good heart health. Yet it doesn’t end there. What you eat doesn’t just keep your heart healthy. It can also affect your brain. 

Stroke is the second leading cause of death around the globe. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias come at fifth. Many are familiar with stroke, yet some interchange Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Is Alzheimer’s Different from Dementia?

The majority of dementia cases are vascular dementia. This occurs when the cognitive functions decline because of insufficient or interrupted blood circulation to the brain.

Alzheimer’s is a complicated disease. Despite the number of studies present, more research still needs to be done to effectively preventing it.

There are lifestyle changes anyone can make to prevent vascular dementia. It’s also good news that there is evidence in research that shows vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s are associated.

Committing to a healthy lifestyle that prevents vascular dementia is not a guarantee that one will not get Alzheimer’s, yet chances may be reduced even insignificantly.

Taking Preventive Measures is the Key

Preventing strokes is essential because it can lead to death. Not everyone who suffers from stroke dies but their brain and body functions are heavily impaired, making them almost lifeless.

Dr. Joshua S. Yamamoto, an invasive-preventive cardiologist and co-author of the book You Can Prevent a Stroke, highlighted that the best way in treating stroke is preventing it. Anyone who intends to keep a healthy heart should avoid heart disease or stroke at all costs.

Working with thousands of elderly patients, Dr. Yamamoto encountered the common health issue being raised: the fear of being disabled and losing mental and physical functions.

Instead of focusing to prevent Alzheimer’s or to cure stroke, one can simply prevent contracting these non-communicable diseases by making lifestyle changes.
Maintaining a Healthy Heart and Brain

Strokes are often believed to happen at random, but they are not.  Strokes are impactful, and they often happen quickly. However, they can also work cumulatively. Over time, you may lose working brain cells because of insufficient or interrupted blood flow to the brain.

Insufficient blood circulation to the brain can lead to vascular dementia in the long run. A healthy brain has a rich oxygen supply. To be nourished with oxygen, it needs adequate blood circulation.

Dr. Yamamoto acknowledges that the brain remains to be a mystery despite the technological advancements available. What he suggests is to maintain a healthy brain by “feeding” it, even as you grow old.

In his article that he published in May 2020, Dr. Yamamoto wrote about the oldest COVID-19 survivor at 107 years old. He discussed how the patient takes medications to prevent heart failure and vascular aging. What may have helped her overcome the coronavirus are the stroke prevention medications she has been taking to avoid lethal blood clotting.

Ways on Improving Blood Circulation

Dr. Yamamoto advises that anyone needs to work with their doctor and ask these questions:

  • “What is the health of my heart, and how do I know?
  • “What is the health of my arteries, and how do I know?”
  • “What is my heart’s rate and rhythm, and how do I know?”

These things change naturally so it is crucial to be aware of how these changes can affect overall heart health.

Here are some ways to improve your brain and heart health.

  1. Identify risk factors. Identify the factors that may cause you heart issues. Are you smoking? If you’re a smoker, quit the habit. This can be changed so quit it. Do you have a family history of contracting heart diseases? You can’t change this but you can control the risk factors by making lifestyle changes.
  2. Maintain a balanced diet. Focus on eating healthy meal favorites such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and plant-based or lean animal proteins. Reduce or cut out intake of processed and sugary food, as well as refined carbohydrates.
  3. Get physically active. Stick to an exercise routine to prevent a sedentary lifestyle. While still young you can choose vigorous workout routines weekly. As you grow old you can transition to activities with moderate intensity.
  4. Watch your weight. it’s important to know that weight alone doesn’t define a healthy lifestyle. Avoid obsessing over the figures and focus on maintaining a healthy weight. Cut down on calories and exercise.
  5. Manage risk factors. Existing health conditions may not be cured entirely but you can reduce or deal with the symptoms. Improve your lifestyle by adopting healthy eating habits, getting physically active, and eliminating bad lifestyle habits such as smoking.

A healthy heart is synonymous with a health brain. Make lifestyle changes to ensure that you’re hitting two birds with one stone. 

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