I’m back!! This month, I wanted to focus on a topic that is near to my heart because it also affects my family. My grandmother, or as I like to call her “Meme”, has Alzheimer’s disease. This disease has no cure, but research shows that the risk of Alzheimer's disease can be greatly reduced by keeping your heart and brain healthy. So, let's talk more about that!
hero_image_alt_text===Picture of Abigail
thumbnail_alt_text===Picture of Abigail
More than 5.7 million Americans including 100,000 Arkansans, currently live with a diagnosis of one of the most common forms of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and that number is expected to nearly triple by 2050. Wowsa!
A healthy lifestyle benefits your brain as much as the rest of your body -- and may lessen the risk of cognitive decline (a loss of the ability to think well) as you age, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Both the heart and brain need adequate blood flow, but in many people, blood vessels slowly become narrowed or blocked over the course of their life, a disease process known as atherosclerosis, the cause of many heart attacks and strokes.
Brain health is something that matters whether you are young like me or perhaps a little bit older. And we can all make choices to help improve the health of our brains. The American Heart Association created a tool called “Life’s Simple 7” which provides 7 easy and simple steps that can make big changes.
- Manage blood pressure
- Control cholesterol
- Reduce blood sugar
- Get active
- Eat better
- Lose weight
- Stop Smoking
The American Heart Association and the Alzheimer’s Association also agree that being socially engaged can help produce a healthy brain. I think we can all agree that our heart and brain both benefit from spending time with others!
There are a lot of different activities that you can do to help your heart health and your brain. “Meme” and I created a common bond over puzzles. Yes, I said puzzles! Jigsaw puzzles turned into something that I enjoyed doing because my grandmother loved completing them. Puzzles can help your brain because you are working through problems in your head. We would complete them together, and when we were apart, I would do one at home and send her a picture. It was our thing. Although my meme has lost the desire to work on puzzles as it makes her so tired, we continue to find others ways to connect and show how much we love each other.
I pray that a cure for Alzheimer’s is found soon so that other families will not experience the sadness that comes along with this disease. I try to make the most of every moment I have with my “Meme” and I’m so grateful she still knows who I am and understands how much I love her.
I will continue to advocate for the heart-health of all of the “Meme”s and “Pap”s out there with the American Heart Association. I hope that you will join me by texting ABBY to 46839 or add your voice at this link: https://www.yourethecure.org/join
For more information about brain health and heart health, visit the American Heart Association website.
Until Next Time,