Health Tips: Eliminating 12 risk factors for dementia -- You can do it!


Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Mike Roizen

What do having little or no education, high blood pressure, untreated hearing impairment, smoking, obesity, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, low social contact, head injuries, excessive alcohol consumption in midlife and air pollution exposure in later life have in common? 

They are risk factors for dementia and, according to The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention, Intervention and Care, if they’re reduced or eliminated, that could prevent or delay 40% of dementia cases worldwide.

The commission upped their list of risk factors from nine to 12 recently, and they’re sounding a wake-up call. So listen up. It can help you make sure you and your loved ones do not have to contend with cognitive impairment as you grow older. 

They want to call your attention to lifestyle choices that damage cardio-cerebral health, increasing the risk of dementia: high blood pressure, inactivity, smoking, obesity, excess alcohol intake and air pollution exposure. Also risky are head injuries, hearing loss and psychological conditions such as depression. They can lead to poor lifestyle choices and/or neurological changes. 

The good news is that you’re never too young to protect yourself from dementia when you’re old (don’t smoke, protect your brain from sports-related injury, exercise regularly and eat healthy foods). And you’re never too old either! Walk daily and do strength training, don’t smoke, drink very little alcohol, eat a Pesco-Mediterranean diet, stay in contact with friends and family, volunteer, do/learn new things, meditate, sleep and laugh. 

So, what are you going to do today to help protect your brain tomorrow?

Getting back in the saddle after a heart attack extends your life

Rumor has it that Nelson Rockefeller died of a heart attack in 1979 at age 70 while intimately romancing his secretary. The fate of the former vice president and heir to a family fortune reinforced the idea that sex is dangerous for someone with heart problems.

In the past, doctors explicitly told their patients that sexual activity could lead to heart attacks, but a new study suggests that sexual activity actually improves the prognosis for people with a history of heart attacks.

The research, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, is based on nearly 500 healthy adults (mostly men, average age of 53) with a history of heart attacks. The researchers found that maintaining/increasing the frequency of sexual activity within the first six months after a heart attack was associated with a 35% lower risk of death compared with those who abstained from or reduced sexual activity.

What’s the link between sexual activity and improved health? Sex helps a person regain muscle tone (including the heart muscle) and lower blood pressure, just as moderate exercise or a walking routine does. Plus, it improves feelings of well-being and mental health.

How to get started? The American Heart Association says if you exercise hard enough to work up a light sweat without triggering symptoms, it’s safe to have sex. You can also have your doc give you a stress test to put you at ease. Just don’t deny yourself the improved health and joy that a mutually enjoyable sexual relationship can bring back into your life.

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