Preventing Dementia - From 35 Years Old to 100
How to Start Preventing Dementia Today
Dementia is scary to everyone. Losing your thoughts and your ability to be yourself sounds like a nightmare. So let’s all try to prevent developing this awful disease. But how?
Recent studies may have provided a method. There is one health metric that has been proven to predict risk of dementia, alzheimer’s disease, and risk of death from all causes. This one health metric is called Aortic Stiffness, or Aortic Pulse Wave Velocity. It’s a mouthful, I know, but it’s super important, so let’s delve deeper.
First off, the aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body (shown below) running from the heart to the groin, and laying right in front of the spine. This blood vessel carries oxygen rich blood to all of the blood vessels in the body, including the delicate blood vessels in the brain. When the aorta is stiff the blood travels too fast and ends up damaging the blood vessels in the brain, this happens slowly over time.
Studies have been published since 2012 proving that increased aortic stiffness is a cause of cognitive decline and dementia, but it was only recently that this study by University of California’s Davis School of Medicine proved that increased aortic stiffness and pulse wave velocity are a risk factor for future brain impairments (cognitive decline, alzheimer’s, dementia) in people as young as 35 years old.
How is Aortic Stiffness Measured?
Previously, the only method to attain this measurement was a very expensive medical device or a lengthy wait at a specialist’s office. You can now measure Aortic Stiffness in your own home with iHeart, a fingertip device and mobile app that determines your Internal Age by measuring Aortic Stiffness.
The Good News
The good news is if you are 35 years old, or much older, and do have increased aortic stiffness you can take steps right now to decrease Aortic Stiffness and lower your risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
Start by moving more each day. This can be taking a break at work and walking around the block, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going to the gym or yoga studio, or working out at home. Start small and work your way to exercising 30-60 minutes a day, 3-5 days a week.
Stretching does many positive things for the body including improving circulation, decreasing stress, improving mood, decreasing aortic stiffness, improving core mobility (put link to core mobility post), improving sleep! Try these stretches to do before bed to improve sleep.
Diet plays a huge role in stiffening of the aorta, and improving your diet can decrease aortic stiffness drastically. Changing the diet can be a daunting task, but you can make easy swaps to ease yourself into the process. Try these 10 food swaps to help you live healthy.
Stress does a number on your body, including increasing Aortic Stiffness, mood disorders, poor sleep, skin issues, and weight gain. Try these 23 Scientifically backed ways to improve stress levels.
When you haven’t rested sufficiently your body suffers. Studies have proven that lack of quality sleep affects the immune system, the cardiovascular system, increases risk of diabetes, and increases weight gain. To improve sleep put away your phone before bed and pick up a book! Try the stretches listed above to help relax you before you hit the hay. If those don’t work try some of these 7 steps to a better sleep.