Healthy Heart, Healthy Brain
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
According to a study from Vanderbilt University, a healthy heart may help protect you from dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Just over 1000 participants were followed for 11 years in order to collect data on their heart and brain health. During the 11-year period, 32 people developed dementia (3.2%), of which 26 developed Alzheimer’s.
As reported in the online journal, "Circulation," the group of 32 people were found to have worse heart function, making them two to three times more likely to develop dementia than participants with healthy hearts.
Lead researcher and director of the Vanderbilt Memory and Alzheimer’s Center, Angela Jefferson, noted that these findings are actually very encouraging. While we may not be able to change our genetics, we can adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle that will benefit our brains as well.
While the brain is resilient and manages blood flow to effectively support brain tissue and activity while we’re young, vessels tend to be less adaptable as we age, which means that blood flow may decrease, leading to a less healthy brain.
Having a healthy heart doesn’t guarantee brain health, but it could help and it certainly won’t hurt. If you want to keep your heart—and potentially your brain—in top form, manage stress, exercise regularly, don’t smoke and stick to healthy, well-balanced meals.
If you have any questions about keeping your heart and brain healthy throughout your life, give us a call. Our knowledgeable medical staff is always happy to answer you questions and address your concerns.