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Control Your Alzheimer’s Risk Factors

Brain Health and Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular health, or heart health, refers to the health of your heart and blood vessels. Your heart pumps blood through blood vessels throughout your body - including your brain. If your cardiovascular system is not operating optimally, it can disrupt the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your brain, potentially resulting in structural and/or functional damage to the brain. This increases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases.

Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors

High blood pressure and blood cholesterol, tobacco use and diabetes are all risk factors that can contribute to cardiovascular disease. And in turn, cardiovascular disease is a risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Fortunately, the tobacco use risk factor can be eliminated. But quitting tobacco can be difficult. If you need assistance quitting tobacco use, the doctors at Banner Health will help you create a personalized healthy tobacco cessation plan.

The other risk factors - high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes - can be managed through eating a healthy diet and staying active. Our compassionate team of specialists can help start you off on the right foot toward a path of healthy living and a higher quality of life.

Do You “Know Your Numbers”?

“Know Your Numbers” refers to the five key risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease and their associated numbers. The numbers for all of these risk factors can be changed with healthy lifestyle choices.

  • Total cholesterol
  • HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sugar
  • Body mass index (BMI)

Waist circumference is often considered when determining BMI for those with a muscular physique which may present as a high BMI. When you know and understand your numbers, you can then take steps to improve your cardiovascular health and manage the numbers to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. 

How To Improve Your Numbers

It is never too late to take action toward improving your cardiovascular and brain health. Here are a few tips to start working toward improved numbers.

Meet With Your Primary Care Doctor

Your doctor will discuss with you the normal ranges for cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index and your actual numbers. You will likely need to have a blood test to determine most of these numbers. Once you know your numbers, you can begin taking steps to improve your health.

Set Realistic Goals

Goals are most successful when they are specific, manageable and can be easily adjusted. For example, instead of setting a goal for yourself to “start eating healthier” or “exercise more,” set a more specific goal to “eat one salad a day” or “walk five times a week for 30 minutes a day.” To stay on track, consider partnering with a friend to work out and/or share recipes and help you be accountable for your choices.

Track Your Progress

As you work toward your goals, track your weight and body measurements on a regular basis. If you are consistent in working toward your goals, you will find that you have more energy, your clothes will fit looser and you will feel better overall. When your numbers start improving, you can adjust your goals as needed to help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Take the first step to identify and control your risk factors as soon as possible. Make an appointment with your doctor today. Banner Health is here to support your healthy lifestyle.