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4 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease and Dementia

August 23rd, 2019

By: Lenora Alabi

Research shows that many of the things that your aging relative can do to prevent the development of heart disease will also reduce the risk for dementia. In fact, researchers from France recently took a look at the guidelines for heart health set by the American Heart Association and how they might affect the chances of getting dementia. They looked at data collected on nearly 8,000 people who had taken part in the Whitehall II Study in the 1980s. At the start of the study, none of them had cardiovascular problems or dementia. The participants were followed for 25 years. In that time, 347 of them developed dementia at an average age of 75. The researchers examined how closely the participants had followed tenets for good heart health. Those who had not lived a heart-healthy lifestyle were more likely to go on to develop dementia.

Considering that certain lifestyle changes can stave off both heart problems and dementia, helping your older family member to make some changes could protect their health on two fronts. Below are 4 ways you can help them to prevent both heart disease and dementia.

#1: Exercise

Exercise is important to good health and the prevention of many health problems. The good news is that older adults don’t have to participate in a strenuous exercise routine to improve their health. Experts say that any kind of physical activity counts, so simply working in the garden can better their health. Seniors should try to engage in moderate physical activity for about 150 minutes per week, which is 30 minutes per day on 5 days.

#2: Quit Smoking

If the older adult smokes, quitting can make a huge difference to their health. Smoking is considered one of the biggest risk factors for developing heart disease. It damages blood vessels and the heart, which causes them to become narrower. Because of its effects on blood vessels, smoking is also a risk factor for dementia. 

#3: Eat Well

The old saying “you are what you eat” is true in terms of health. Experts at the Mayo Clinic suggest following either the DASH diet or a Mediterranean diet to improve heart health. In addition to adding healthy foods to the senior’s diet, avoiding high amounts of saturated fat, salt, and sugar can also prevent dementia. 

#4: Lose Weight

Obesity is a risk factor for both heart disease and dementia. If you are uncertain what a healthy weight is for your older family member, ask their doctor. Fortunately, some of the steps for preventing heart disease and dementia can also help with losing weight, like eating a healthy diet and exercising.

Home care can help your loved one to make lifestyle changes to improve their health and lessen the chances of getting heart disease or dementia. Home care providers can cook healthy meals for the older adult that use heart-healthy ingredients, like vegetables and low-fat proteins. Home care providers can also encourage them while they try to quit smoking and offer a distraction for the urge to smoke. In addition, seniors with home care providers may be more active because they feel safer moving about with someone to assist them. A home care provider can even go for a walk with them or drive them to an exercise class.

Sources
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325986.php
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease-prevention/art-20046502
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/dementia-prevention/

IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING HIRING HOME CARE SERVICES IN RIVER WEST, IL, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT BRIGHTSTAR CARE CHICAGO. CALL TODAY: 312.382.8888.