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Simple Tricks to Avoid "Deadly" Alzheimer's, Say Doctors Now

To save off the disease, there are simple things you can do that will reduce your risk.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
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"Forgetting where you parked your car can be annoying. If it happens all the time, it can be disturbing, and you may worry that it's a sign of a more serious condition," says Harvard Health. In fact, it may be Alzheimer's. To stave off the disease, which is a fatal form of dementia, according to the CDC, there are simple things you can do that will reduce your risk—and make you generally healthier, too. Read on for 5 essential, simple tricks to avoid "deadly" Alzheimer's now—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn't Know It.

1

Eat a Mediterranean Diet

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A Mediterranean Diet "has been shown to help thwart Alzheimer's or slow its progression. A recent study showed that even partial adherence to such a diet is better than nothing, which is relevant to people who may find it difficult to fully adhere to a new diet," Dr. Gad Marshall, associate medical director of clinical trials at the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital, tells Harvard Health, which adds: "The diet includes fresh vegetables and fruits; whole grains; olive oil; nuts; legumes; fish; moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, and dairy; moderate amounts of red wine; and red meat only sparingly."

2

Exercise for This Long Every Day

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The NIH recommends "exercising for at least 150 minutes every week by doing moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as cycling or fast walking), or as much as you're able to," in order to keep Alzheimer's at bay. Why? Because 11 studies have shows that this kind of regular exercise can reduce your chances of developing dementia by as much as 30%—and a whopping 45% for Alzheimer's specifically.

3

Don't Indulge in These Bad Habits

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Stop smoking. Don't drink too much. This kind of advice could be in any one of these healthy living articles, and there's a good reason why: smoking can cause strokes or blood clots, which are the same risk factors that contribute to dementia. Also, "Excessive alcohol consumption over a lengthy time period can lead to brain damage, and may increase your risk of developing dementia," says the Alzheimer's Society. "However, drinking alcohol in moderation has not been conclusively linked to an increased dementia risk, nor has it been shown to offer significant protection against developing dementia."

4

Learning New Things May Help

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"We think that cognitively stimulating activities may be helpful in preventing Alzheimer's, but the evidence for their benefit is often limited to improvement in a learned task, such as a thinking skills test, that does not generalize to overall improvement in thinking skills and activities of daily living," Dr. Marshall tells Harvard.

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5

There is No Surefire Way to Prevent Alzheimer's

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"Not yet," Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D. writes for the Mayo Clinic. "But there's strong evidence that several factors associated with leading a healthy lifestyle may play a role in reducing your risk of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. However, more research is needed before any of these factors can be considered a proven strategy to prevent Alzheimer's disease. Population-based studies suggest that factors associated with overall good health may also reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive decline. These factors include regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet and keeping your brain active through lifelong learning." If you feel you're at risk, contact a medical professional—and to ensure you're healthy as can be, don't miss these Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers.