BY DR. HEATHER SNYDER
ALZHEIMER’S is the
most common type of
dementia, which is a
general term for memory loss and the loss of
other cognitive abilities
severe enough to interfere with daily life.
Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for ;;
to ;; percent of dementia cases, causes a
progressive decline in memory, thinking
and behavior. Today, ;.; million Americans
are living with the disease.
Sadly, there is currently no way to prevent, slow down or stop the progression of
Alzheimer’s disease. However, growing
evidence indicates that people may be able
to reduce their risk of cognitive decline by
adopting key lifestyle changes.
In recognition of Alzheimer’s & Brain
Awareness Month in June, the Alzheimer’s
Association ( alz.org) offers “;; Ways to
Love Your Brain,” tips that may help keep
your brain as healthy as possible as you age.
Here are six tips for you to follow (the rest
of the tips can be found at alz.org/;;ways).
Break a sweat by engaging in regular
cardiovascular exercise. It elevates heart
rate and increases blood flow to the brain
Hit the books. Study in any stage of
life will help reduce the risk of cognitive
decline and dementia. Take a class; learn a
language or a new instrument.
Buddy up. Staying socially engaged may
support brain health. Pursue activities that
are meaningful to you. Consider volunteering at a local animal shelter, joining a local
choir or just sharing activities with family
Follow your heart. What’s good for the
heart may be good for the brain. Evidence
shows that risk factors for cardiovascular
disease and stroke—obesity, high blood
pressure and diabetes—also negatively
affect cognitive health.
Stump yourself with puzzles, crosswords or playing cards. Challenging the
mind may have short- and long-term benefits for the brain.
Catch some zzz’s. Not receiving
enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems
with memory and thinking.
It’s never too late or too early to incorporate these healthy habits into your lifestyle. Research suggests that combining all
;; behaviors offers a greater benefit to brain
health than any single activity alone.
To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, and to find resources for caregivers,
families and people living with the disease,
visit alz.org. C
Dr. Heather Snyder is senior director of
medical and scienti;c operations at the
MEMORY LOSS that disrupts daily life
may be a sign of Alzheimer’s or another
form of dementia. The Alzheimer’s
Association recommends consulting a
doctor if you notice any of the following:
• Difficulty completing familiar tasks.
• Confusion with time or place.
• Changes in mood or personality.
To learn more about potential warning signs, see the 10 Warning Signs of
Alzheimer’s at alz.org/10signs.—HS
SPECIAL SEC TION
FOR YOUR HEALTH
Love your brain
MORE THAN 80,000 new diagnoses of
primary brain tumors are expected in the
U.S. this year, according to the American
Brain Tumor Association. About 17,000
people will lose their battle with malignant brain and central nervous system
tumors in 2017.
Brain tumors are the most common
cancer in children up to age 14 and are
the leading cause of cancer deaths for
that age group. In adolescents from age
15 to adults age 39, brain and central
nervous system tumors are the third
most common cause of cancer deaths.
Who is at risk?
• Age is a factor, as brain tumors are
most common in older people, but they
can occur at any age. Children are at risk
for brain tumors that may be exclusive
to young people.
• Radiation exposure, such as radiation
used in cancer treatments or from nuclear
weapons, can cause an increased risk of
brain tumor. (The type of radiation emitted by cellphones, microwave ovens and
power lines has not proved to be linked
to brain tumors.)
• A family history of brain tumors
puts a person at greater risk.
Many symptoms associated
with brain tumors can mirror
those of common disorders.
Since brain tumors are considered rare, it may not be an
immediately obvious diagnosis.
Here are symptoms to watch for:
• Headaches, including new
headaches or changes in recurring
• Unexplained nausea or vomiting.
• Sensory and/or motor loss, including balance problems.
• Hearing problems.
• Vision loss, including blurred or double vision.
• Personality or behavior changes.
• Cognitive problems, including confusion with regular tasks.
See your doctor for any concern
about a potential brain tumor.
Search for brain tumor information at
• Brain Tumor Alliance,
• Mayo Clinic, mayoclinic.org.
• Cancer.Net, cancer.net.—David Wight
OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS
Click here for more information about
Alzheimer’s disease. (See page 10