Reduce your dementia risk with these 7 simple steps

The American Heart Association established an Impact Goal for 2020 to improve cardiovascular health by 20% among all Americans and reduce deaths due to cardiovascular disease by 20%.

One key component of this initiative is the “ The Simple 7 “, which promotes ideal cardiovascular health through a focus on seven factors you can control.

What is Life Simple 7?

The AHA has identified seven factors and behaviors that are key to improving cardiovascular wellness.

These include:

  1. Don’t smoke: Quit smoking as soon as possible, or don’t start.
  2. Diet : A healthy diet is one that contains a lot of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It also includes lean proteins and low-fat milk.
  3. Physical Activity: Do at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise.
  4. BMI (Body Mass Index): Maintain an ideal BMI between 18.5 and 24.95 kg/m2.
  5. Blood pressure: Keep your blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg.
  6. Diabetes: Maintaining blood glucose levels in a healthy range is important to manage or prevent diabetes.
  7. Blood cholesterol: Keep total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL.

The seven risk factors that you can modify all affect your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Recent studies have shown that the same seven measures could also play a major role in reducing dementia risk.

Dementia and Life’s Simple Seven

In a new study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 75th Annual meeting in February 2023 , higher scores on Life’s Simple 7 were associated with a reduced risk of dementia for women.

The study examined the data on risk factors collected from 13,720 Women enrolled in Women’s Health Study between 1992-1994 and 2004.

A higher Life’s Simple 7 Score measured at baseline was statistically associated with a lower risk of dementia. The effect was the same for Life’s Simple 7 scores measured after 10 years of follow-up.

Although the study was only conducted on women, these findings are likely to apply to men.

How to reduce your risk of dementia

This study shows that adopting Life’s Simple 7 behavior can reduce your risk of dementia.

Here is a list of questions that you can ask to motivate yourself to act:

  • Do you smoke cigarettes? What can you do to reduce or quit smoking?
  • What is the current state of your diet? What is your current diet like?
  • How active are you? How can you improve your physical activity to ensure you get at least 150 minutes per week of exercise?
  • Do you know what your BMI is? Do you take proactive steps to achieve a healthier BMI level?
  • Have you recently had your cholesterol and blood pressure levels checked? What can you do to improve your cholesterol and blood pressure levels?
  • Are you at risk for diabetes? Are you managing your blood sugar levels with your healthcare provider if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes?

By addressing these key areas, you can lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and dementia. You will also have a better chance of living longer and healthier.