November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and Alzheimer’s disease is a global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century. Almost 6 million people in the U.S. are living with the disease, which is the most expensive disease in the country. An annual cost of $290 billion includes a $195 billion cost to Medicare and Medicaid. As scientists diligently search for a cure, lifestyle choices offer the best way to delay or prevent the onset of this disease.
In the past decade, published reports show that lifestyle factors reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s Association has a two-year clinical trial called the U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER). It will evaluate whether lifestyle interventions, that simultaneously target many risk factors, protect cognitive function in older adults who are at increased risk for cognitive decline.
To guard your cognitive health, practice the lifestyle changes of SHIELD:
S — Sleep with attention to quantity and quality.
H — Handle stress by avoiding caffeine, alcohol and nicotine and indulging in physical activity and relaxation.
I — Interact through social activities.
E — Exercise regularly. A new study found that exercise slows Alzheimer’s even after amyloid has begun to build up in the brain.
L — Learn new skills to stay mentally stimulated.
D — Diet. Eat lots of vegetables, fruits and healthy oils.
Congressman Jamie Raskin is thanked for his support of increased Alzheimer’s research funding in fiscal 2019. Please contact him to ask for his continued support of a $350 million increase in Alzheimer’s research funding in fiscal 2020.
For more information on Alzheimer’s, visit alz.org/maryland.