Healthy People Wanted!
February is the month that our New Year’s resolutions have begun to fizzle. The Christmas cookies are long behind us (and perhaps left on our behinds!) February is heart health month. We all talk about becoming healthier but it can be hard to take consistent steps to get healthy. By now most of us have stopped going to the gym and our New Year’s diet will resume again “on Monday”.
According to the CDC heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Our heart health actually impacts our brain health. Recent studies on Alzheimer’s and dementia show a link between heart disease and dementia. The general theory is, if our heart is not able to effectively pump the oxygen filled blood to our brain our brain is at risk for developing dementia. Lacing up our sneakers isn’t just about making sure our clothes fit comfortably. Improving our heart health actually helps to improve our brain health.
One of the best things you can do to help your heart and brain is to quit smoking. Smoking increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Over the counter products to help you quit smoking are not covered by Medicare but prescription medication to quit may be covered under Medicare Part D.
Keep your blood sugar under control. Diabetes is correlated with heart disease. Diabetics often have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. According to the National Institute of Health high blood pressure and diabetes doubles your risk for cardiovascular disease.
High cholesterol and high blood pressure increase your chance for having a stroke. A stroke occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is blocked. The area of the brain that isn’t receiving blood begins to die. This can cause a type of dementia.
Here is something exciting and perhaps a little fun that you can do. The Butler Hospital Memory & Aging program, an affiliate of the Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School, conducts some of the world’s top research on dementia and Alzheimer’s right here in Rhode Island. This includes research on heart disease, diabetes and stroke and how those illnesses may impact developing dementia. Right now several of their studies are looking for people without cognitive impairment to participate in the research. You can call them today, 401-455-6403, to see if you are eligible to participate
Lace up your sneakers, go for a walk and invite your neighbor to join you in research for the world wide fight against dementia!