Simple lifestyle changes may offset genetic risk for Alzheimer’s

SPRINGFIELD,Mo.-- Neurologist Curtis Schreiber with Bolivars Citizens Memorial Hospital (CMH) Missouri Memory Center, says there are five simple things you can do to help reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer's.

1. A healthy diet (MIND diet)
You want to have a healthy and balanced diet.
He recommends starting the MIND diet, which was created to reduce the chances of Alzheimer's.

2. Be physically active
You want to be physically active for at least 150 minutes a week. That equates to just 2.5 hours a week.

3. Be mentally active
Staying mentally and socially active is crucial. Dr.Schreiber said it's important to stay connected and talk to friends and family often. Additionally, do activities like puzzles, crosswords, and even board games. The goal is to keep your mind working and active.

4. No smoking

5.Limit the use of alcohol intake

These lifestyle principals are based off a study presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Los Angeles.

"Now, the people that can accomplish four or five of those goals can reduce their chances of Alzheimer's diseases by 60 percent," explains Dr. Schreiber.

He said those who can add two or three can reduce your risk by 40 percent. Even implementing one lifestyle change, can reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease by 20 percent.

Dr. Schreiber said all too often people tend not to take memory loss as serious as they would a heart problem or other conditions. That's why he said he wants to be clear that these lifestyle principles are not cures to existing memory loss or early stages. However, these are preventives to help reduce your chance of Alzheimer's.

"What we want people to know is that if they are experiencing symptoms of memory loss, it is time to get it checked out," explained Dr.Schreiber.
"It's time to get it checked out with your primary care, and if needed, have a referral to get a bigger check-up with a neurologist or a memory specialist."

While diagnostics could be scary for families, there are resources available. The Greater Missouri Chapter of Alzheimer's Association has been here in Springfield since 1987 and offers free resources.

The organization provides education, support, and even counseling to all those with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
It not only offers assistance and resources to those living with the disease, but caregivers, health care professionals, and families too.

Rob Hulstra, with the Alzheimer's Association, says it's challenging to find someone who hasn't been affected in some way by these diseases. That's why offering services, and advocacy through the organization is pivotal.

"We can't take this away, but we can give you information to help deal with this better," explained Hulstra. "Yes, it's normal to be angry, and it's normal to be bitter. But now you can get over this stage, and you can learn more and be a care partner and a caregiver."

Hulstra said the Alzheimer's Association is funded through grants, benefits, and fundraisers. One of their biggest being the Walk to End Alzheimer's, which will be Saturday, September 21st at Jordan Valley Park.

For more information on the Alzheimer's Association and Walk to End Alzheimer's event:

Other Alzheimer's Education Programs:

CMH will offer Alzheimer's Education programs by the Alzheimer's Association at its CMH Bolivar location, 1500 N. Oakland Ave.

Understanding Alzheimer's and Dementia- Tuesday, August 20th| 9-10:30am

Understanding and Responding to Dementia-Related Behavior- Tuesday, August 27th | 9- 10:30am

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