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Reducing Your Risk of Alzheimer Disease

Because the causes are unknown, there are currently no guidelines for reducing your risk of Alzheimer disease.

Scientists are studying medications and lifestyle factors that may help. Diet, mental activity, and exercise may play a role in brain health. For example:

  • Regular exercise and social engagement may decrease the risk of developing dementia.
  • There is some evidence that the Mediterranean diet may help lower your risk of Alzheimer disease, as well. This diet includes foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds, olive oil, and fish.
  • Drinking alcohol may be beneficial, but it is drinking in moderation, 1 drink or less per day for women, 2 drinks per day or less for men. If you do not drink, you do not have to start to get any benefits. Drinking excessive alcohol is associated with worsening of memory and increased risk of dementia.

Control of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes may help to reduce your risk. In addition, some researchers have argued that long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can lower the risk.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been studied in Alzheimer prevention but research is unclear, in fact, some studies have shown an increased risk of Alzheimer with HRT. As our understanding of Alzheimer disease grows, your doctor may have more information regarding steps for reducing your risk as you age. Studies are ongoing to allow us to better understand the risk factors for Alzheimer disease.

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References:

Alzheimer dementia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114193/Alzheimer-dementia. Updated August 21, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Alzheimer's disease medications fact sheet. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-medications-fact-sheet. Updated May 18, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Carrillo MC, Blackwell A, Hampel H, et al. Early risk assessment for Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers Disease. 2009;5(2):182-196.
Deweerdt S. Prevention: activity is the best medicine. Nature. 2011;475(7355):S16-S17.
Risk factors. Alzheimer’s Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed October 2, 2017.
Rolland Y, Abellan van Kan G, Vellas B. Healthy brain aging: role of exercise and physical activity. Clin Geriatr Med. 2010;26(1):75-87.
Solomon A, Kivipelto M, Soininen H. Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease: moving backward through the lifespan. J Alzheimer’s Dis. 2012;33(Suppl 1):S465-S469..
Von Arnim CA, Herbolsheimer F, Nikolaus T, et al. Dietary antioxidants and dementia in a population-based case-control study among older people in South Germany. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;31(4):717-724.
9/18/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114193/Alzheimer-dementia: Anstey KJ, Mack HA, Cherbuin N. Alcohol consumption as a risk factor for dementia and cognitive decline: meta-analysis of prospective studies. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2009;17(7):542-555.
8/23/2010 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114193/Alzheimer-dementia: Ritchie K, Carrière I, Ritchie CW, Berr C, Artero S, Ancelin ML. Designing prevention programmes to reduce incidence of dementia: prospective cohort study of modifiable risk factors. BMJ. 2010;341:c3885.
4/8/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114193/Alzheimer-dementia: Sofi F, Abbate R, Gensini GF, Casini A. Accruing evidence on benefits of adherence to the Mediterranean diet on health: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;92(5):1189-1196.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 9/17/2014

 

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