According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in every three seniors will die with some form of dementia.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. In 2021, more than 6 million Americans, regardless of age, were suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia.
Forgetting names, faces, places…
Becoming unpredictably paranoid, agitated, or depressed…
Gradually losing the ability to perform simple tasks, like bathing or teeth brushing…
While there’s no known cure for Alzheimer's, there are ways you can minimize your risk of developing this condition.
So, to help you protect yourself, here are 6 bad “brain-aging” habits to avoid if you want to lower your chances of being diagnosed with Alzheimer's:
Vitamin D is an essential building block for a healthy brain, and is known to be neuroprotective.
A lack of natural sunlight won't just make you feel down—it can also suppress your brain's ability to absorb Vitamin D, thereby letting down its own defenses.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, and Rutgers University have found a link between low levels of vitamin D and memory problems, including the onset of Alzheimer’s.
According to the study, seniors with low levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's.
Smoking is bad enough for your lungs, but takes a huge toll on your brain too.
Smoking narrows the arteries in the brain, affecting blood flow and hampering nutrient supply to nerve cells.
This condition may speed up the formation of plaques that kill brain cells.
A study published in the Lancet in 2009 found that smokers were three times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than non-smokers.
In addition, smoking also reduces levels of a critical protein called “brain-derived neurotrophic factor” (BDNF). BDNF promotes the growth of new neurons and protects them from dying.
Just like tobacco use, sitting too much can increase your risk for many diseases, including Alzheimer's.
Sitting for too long is a telltale sign of an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle.
Planting yourself in a chair for prolonged periods—whether at a desk job, watching TV, or playing video games—can increase your risk of dementia because it restricts blood flow and oxygen to your brain.
In a study published in the medical journal The Lancet, researchers looked at 1,500 men and women over the age of 65.
They found that people who did not engage in any physical activity were twice as likely to develop dementia compared with those who did around 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
Listening to loud music “can put you at risk of permanent hearing loss and possibly Alzheimer's disease,” says a study published in The Society for Neuroscience.
Researchers found that people who listened to loud music at least once a week had an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, compared to those who did not listen to loud music.
Did you know your favorite fast food can reduce your brain's ability to function?
A study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, revealed that eating junk foods like burgers and fries can increase your risk of developing cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers found that people who ate more fast food had worse memory and thinking tests than those who did not eat fast food.
While a Big Mac once in a while isn't going to kill you, it's best to limit your consumption of fast food.
Do you feel like you spend too much time alone?
Studies show that socially isolated people are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
To avoid this, it's important to get out more, make new friends, and socialize.
Go out of your way to get together with family and friends, join a team, or take up an activity that will get you out of the house like a book club or a cooking class.
Other great examples include volunteering, joining a gym, or getting together with neighbors for coffee.
It's important to be aware of the bad brain habits that can lead to Alzheimer's—and as I’ve shown above, there are plenty of simple changes you can make to keep your mind healthy and active as you age.