7 Ways To Cut Your Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

From brain games to healthy lifestyle habits, explore seven proactive steps to promote brain health.

By URLife Team
12 Jun 2023

Alzheimer's disease is a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a progressive condition that impairs memory, cognition, and behaviour, ultimately leading to a loss of independence. The initial symptoms of Alzheimer's disease often involve memory loss, such as forgetting recent conversations, events, or appointments. As the disease advances, individuals may experience difficulties with language, problem-solving, spatial orientation, and judgement. They may also undergo changes in personality and behaviour.


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Alzheimer's disease is characterised by structural changes in the brain that result in the accumulation of specific proteins. These protein deposits contribute to the shrinking of the brain and the progressive loss of brain cells, ultimately leading to cell death. Alzheimer's disease typically affects older individuals, with the risk increasing significantly after the age of 65. However, it can also occur in individuals in their 40s or 50s, known as early-onset Alzheimer's.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is estimated that approximately 50 million people worldwide are living with dementia, with Alzheimer's accounting for the majority of cases. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. Alzheimer's disease and dementia are related but not the same. Dementia is a broad term used to describe a decline in cognitive abilities, including memory, thinking, reasoning, and behavioural skills, that is severe enough to interfere with daily functioning. It is not a specific disease but rather a set of symptoms.

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Causes of Alzheimer's Disease

While the exact mechanisms behind Alzheimer's remain complex and multifaceted, significant progress has been made in knowing the factors contributing to its onset. Let us explore the leading causes of Alzheimer's disease and shed light on the latest scientific findings.

1. Genetic Predisposition: One of the key factors influencing the development of Alzheimer's is genetic predisposition. Mutations in certain genes have been identified as hereditary causes of early-onset familial Alzheimer's disease. 

2. Accumulation of Amyloid Plaques: Another significant contributor to Alzheimer's disease is the accumulation of abnormal protein structures known as amyloid plaques. In healthy brains, the amyloid precursor protein is broken down and cleared away efficiently. However, in Alzheimer's patients, these proteins misfold and aggregate, forming sticky plaques that interfere with neural communication and lead to neuronal damage and cell death.

3. Neurofibrillary Tangles and Tau Protein: Tau protein, an essential component in maintaining the stability of neuronal structures, plays a crucial role in Alzheimer's disease. In a healthy brain, tau proteins are properly regulated and help maintain the structure of microtubules. However, in Alzheimer's patients, abnormal tau proteins become hyperphosphorylated, causing them to twist and tangle inside neurons. These neurofibrillary tangles disrupt the transportation of essential nutrients and molecules within the cells, leading to cellular dysfunction and cognitive decline.

4. Inflammation and Oxidative Stress: Inflammation and oxidative stress are processes that occur naturally in the body as a response to injury or infection. However, chronic inflammation and increased oxidative stress have been linked to the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease. Inflammatory molecules and reactive oxygen species can damage neurons and contribute to the accumulation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. 

5. Vascular Factors: Research and evidence suggest that vascular factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels, may play a significant role in the development of Alzheimer's disease. These conditions can lead to the impairment of blood vessels in the brain, compromising its ability to receive adequate oxygen and nutrients. Reduced blood flow and vascular damage may contribute to the accumulation of amyloid plaques and increase the risk of cognitive decline.


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Who is at Risk of Developing Alzheimer's Disease?

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. While age is the most significant risk factor, as the majority of Alzheimer's cases occur in individuals over 65, it is important to note that Alzheimer's is not a normal part of ageing. Other risk factors include:

1. Family History and Genetics: People with a family history of Alzheimer's, especially those with first-degree relatives (parents or siblings) who have the disease, have a higher risk of developing it themselves. Genetic mutations, such as those in the APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2 genes, can also increase the risk of early-onset familial Alzheimer's disease.

2. Down Syndrome: Individuals with Down syndrome are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, often at an earlier age compared to the general population. This is thought to be due to the extra copy of chromosome 21, which carries the gene for the amyloid precursor protein (APP).

3. Lifestyle Factors: Certain lifestyle choices and health conditions can increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. These include a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels. Engaging in regular physical exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, and managing these conditions can help reduce the risk.

4. Head Trauma: Repeated head injuries or severe traumatic brain injuries have been linked to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's later in life. Protecting the head and taking necessary precautions to prevent head injuries is important, particularly in contact sports and high-risk occupations.


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7 Ways To Cut Down The Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent Alzheimer's disease, research suggests that certain lifestyle choices can help reduce the risk or delay the onset of cognitive decline. By adopting a brain-healthy lifestyle, individuals can prioritise their cognitive well-being and potentially lower their susceptibility to Alzheimer's. Let us explore seven strategies that have been associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease.

1.Challenge Your Mind with Puzzles and Riddles: Engaging in mentally stimulating activities, such as puzzles, riddles, crosswords, or learning a new skill, helps keep the brain active and promotes cognitive resilience. Regular mental exercises challenge the mind, strengthen neural connections, and may contribute to a lower risk of cognitive decline.

2. Stay Socially Active: Maintaining an active social life is crucial for brain health. Regular social engagement and interaction with others provide mental stimulation, emotional support, and a sense of belonging. Joining clubs, participating in community events, or staying connected with friends and family can help lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

3. Prioritise 7 Hours of Quality Sleep Each Night: Sufficient and restful sleep is essential for overall health, including brain health. Aim for seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Quality sleep enhances memory consolidation, clears toxins from the brain, and promotes optimal cognitive function, reducing the risk of cognitive decline.

4. Aim for 150 Minutes of Weekly Strength Training: Regular physical exercise is not only beneficial for cardiovascular health but also plays a vital role in brain health. Engaging in strength-training exercises at least twice a week can improve blood flow to the brain, enhance neural connections, and boost cognitive function. Aim for a total of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.

5. Include Omega-3 in Your Diet: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines), walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds, have been linked to brain health. These essential fatty acids contribute to the structure and function of brain cells and may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Including omega-3-rich foods in your diet can support brain health.

6. Limit Smoking and Alcohol Intake: Both smoking and excessive alcohol consumption have detrimental effects on brain health and increase the risk of cognitive decline. Smoking damages blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the brain, while heavy alcohol consumption can cause structural and functional abnormalities in the brain. By quitting smoking and moderating alcohol intake, individuals can protect their brain health.

7. Embrace Zen and Reduce Stress: Chronic stress can have negative impacts on brain health and cognitive function. Engaging in stress-reducing activities, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature, can help promote mental well-being. Managing stress levels and practising relaxation techniques contribute to a healthier brain.


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Regular health checks are essential for everyone, but they are particularly important for individuals who are at risk of or already have Alzheimer’s disease. Taking regular health checks can help detect Alzheimer’s disease at an early stage when it is easier to manage and treat. With the UR.Life HRA, we help you to invest in your well-being through seamless interventions and targeted medical treatments. Our holistic wellness approach caters to all aspects of your well-being. We ensure that you can bring your whole self to work.

With our medical professionals by your side, routine health check-ups will never be an issue. Advanced laboratory technologies back UR.Life’s Occupational Health Centers (OHC), and with highly qualified experts/technicians, we’re committed to delivering trusted and quality recommendations, modifications and advice to you.



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