5 tips to help improve brain health – and perhaps reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s

As you get older, you might take steps to develop healthy habits, whether it’s exercising, eating healthier, and limiting your consumption of alcohol. But did you know that there are steps you can take to help with your brain health? Such preventive measures might even help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s — and the good news is, you might be doing these things anyway, like working on puzzles or trying to get a good night’s sleep.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. In fact, more than 5.8 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s – and this number is expected to increase to 14 million people by 2060.

Along with learning more about the disease, these five simple steps could possibly improve brain health, reduce risk of disease and help delay the potential onset of Alzheimer’s or dementia. 

5 tips to improve brain health

1. Use it or lose it

Whether it’s crossword puzzles, reading or painting, keeping your brain mentally stimulated may help keep it young

2. Get enough sleep

Sleep deprivation can lead to problems with memory and cognitive abilities. Sleep is essential for brain maintenance, like removing built-up toxins in your brain.

3. Stay social

Isolation or loneliness in older adults is associated with a 50% increased risk of developing dementia and a 26% increased risk of all-cause mortality, according to the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

4. Make healthier lifestyle choices

Regular physical activity can help improve brain function, including memory, and reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Talk to your health plan about fitness programs that may be available at no additional cost, such as  Renew Active® by UnitedHealthcare.

Other lifestyle choices, like eating a healthy diet, may also help reduce cardiovascular risk while helping to slow brain aging.

5. Manage chronic illnesses

Common diseases in older adults, such as diabetes and heart disease, may affect brain function. Talk with your health care provider about treatment plans to help you manage chronic conditions. 

Additional steps

In addition to these five steps, it is important to have a memory screening completed each year. Having a record of your brain function year to year may help your health care practitioner diagnose memory disorders earlier.

Memory screenings can be performed during your Annual Wellness Visit, which is available at no additional cost to anyone with Medicare. Make sure to ask your provider to perform a memory evaluation the next time you visit your provider’s office.

If you feel like you or a loved one might be suffering from symptoms of dementia, contact your health care provider.

To learn more about UnitedHealthcare plans in your area, visit uhc.com/medicare.

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