Want to stay smart even in your advanced years? Maintaining a healthy lifestyle from childhood may be the key as it can help in reducing the risk of developing cognitive decline as one ages, according to a new advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA).
Increase in levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar can cause impairment of the large and smaller blood vessels, making them narrowed or blocked. This is known as atherosclerosis, a disease process that is the leading cause of many heart attacks and strokes.
The study, “convincingly demonstrates that the same risk factors that cause atherosclerosis are also major contributors to late-life cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease”, said Philip Gorelick, Professor at the Michigan State University.
If current trends persist, nearly 75 million people worldwide could have dementia by 2030, the study revealed.
Thus, the advisory by AHA outlined a set of seven health factors to define and promote cardiovascular wellness, which may also help foster ideal brain health in adults.
The health factors — termed as “Life’s Simple 7 programme” — urge individuals to manage blood pressure, control cholesterol, keep blood sugar normal, get physically active, eat a healthy diet, lose extra weight, do not start smoking or quit.
“By following Life’s Simple 7 not only can we prevent heart attack and stroke, we may also be able to prevent cognitive impairment,” added Gorelick, who is also vascular neurologist and Medical Director at the Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences in Michigan.
The advisory, based on a review of 182 published scientific studies and published in the journal Stroke, stresses the importance of taking steps to keep your brain healthy as early as possible, because atherosclerosis can begin in childhood.