Brain Health & Aging: The Basics - acl.gov

TALKING ABOUT BRAIN HEALTH & AGING: THE BASICS TALKING BRAIN HEALTH & ABOUT THE BASICS AGING ACL is an operating division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. AGING AND HEALTH AGING WELL DEPENDS ON YOUR GENES, LIFESTYLE CHOICES, AND ENVIRONMENT. Even if youre healthy, However, at any age, changes you can still: in memory and learning as Improve your skills you age may include: More challenges with multitasking Increased difficulty finding words Minor decrease in the ability to pay attention Last Updated: XXXX Learn new things

Create new memories Improve vocabulary Protecting your health is important to maintaining your independen ce. PROTECTING BRAIN HEALTH GOOD OVERALL HEALTH MAY HELP TO MAINTAIN GOOD BRAIN HEALTH. Strive for: Healthy eating Regular exercise Keeping your brain active Social connectio ns

Getting enough sleep HEALTHY EATING GOOD NUTRITION IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF LEADING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE Healthy eating tips: TODAY, TOMORROW, AND IN THE Eat or drink less sugar, salt, and solid fat FUTURE. Make fruits, vegetables, and whole grains a major part of your diet Choose lean meats, fish, or poultry Choose low- or non-fat dairy Control portion sizes Drink adequate fluids Last Updated: XXXX A healthy

diet may promote brain health now, and in the years to come. REGULAR EXERCISE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU CAN DO TO STAY HEALTHY. Benefits: Tips: Reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease, depression, and stroke Can help to prevent falls May improve connections among brain cells Last Updated: XXXX Talk to a health care provider to see what activities are best for you Join programs that teach you to be active safely Many exercise routines can

be modified to fit each individuals fitness level. KEEP YOUR BRAIN ACTIVE Keeping your mind active may help maintain your learning, remembering, and thinking skills. Activity ideas: Last Updated: XXXX Read books and magazin es Play games and do puzzles Take a class or join a club Consider

joining a game or book club in your community. SOCIAL CONNECTIONS PEOPLE WHO TAKE PART IN MEANINGFUL ACTIVITIES SAY THEY FEEL HAPPIER, AND IT SOME HEALTH Be MAY social REDUCE and stay connected by: RISKS. Volunteering or working Joining a social club or gathering with friends and family Trying programs at local community organizations Last Updated: XXXX Approximatel y 1 million adults over the age of 60 help care for

a grandchild. BRAIN HEALTH RISKS POTENTIAL THREATS TO BRAIN HEALTH INCLUDE: Accidents Alcohol Smoking and related risks Some medicines , or improper use of medicines Certain health conditions RISK FACTOR: ACCIDENTS ACCIDENTS CAN HAPPEN AT ANY AGE. AS WE GET OLDER, THE RISK OF FALLS AND OTHER ACCIDENTS THAT CAN CAUSE BRAIN INJURY INCREASES. Reduce your risk:

Exercise to improve Review medicines with a balance and coordination health care provider Wear safety belts and Have your vision checked Get enough sleep (7-8 helmets Take a fall prevention class hours per night) Make sure your home is safe Last Updated: XXXX Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people 65 years of age and older. RISK FACTOR: ALCOHOL CONSUMING ALCOHOL CAN AFFECT THE WAY YOUR BRAIN FUNCTIONS. Alcoholic beverages may:

Last Updated: XXXX Impair communicatio n among brain cells Cause drowsiness, dizziness, fuzzy memory, and slurred speech Have longterm impacts on balance, coordination, memory, emotions, and body temperature Be dangerous when mixed with certain medicines Some health conditions, such as

diabetes and heart disease, can be made worse by the consumption of alcohol. RISK FACTOR: SMOKING AND RELATED RISKS SMOKING CAN AFFECT YOUR HEART, LUNGS, AND BRAIN. Benefits of quitting smoking at any age: Lower risk of heart attacks, stroke, and lung disease Better blood circulation Not exposing others to second-hand smoke In addition, consider how to limit your exposure to air pollution from fires (including fireplaces and candles), vehicles, or industrial areas because pollution can affect your breathing. Last Updated: XXXX Quitting smokingat any agehas many health benefits. RISK FACTOR: MEDICINES SOME MEDICINES CAN AFFECT

THE WAY YOUR BRAIN Talk with your health care FUNCTIONS. provider about: Prescription and over-the-counter drug interactions Memory and brain function side effects Whether your medicines can affect sleep Last Updated: XXXX Its important to understand dosing instructions and potential side effects of the medications you are taking. RISK FACTOR: HEALTH CONDITIONS THERE ARE SEVERAL

HEALTH CONDITIONS THAT AFFECT BRAIN HEALTH, AND SOME CAN BE conditions: MANAGED. Common Heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure Diabetes Sleep problems Last Updated: XXXX Get regular health screenings and talk to your health care provider about any sleep issues you may have. HEART DISEASE, STROKE, AND HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE HEART DISEASE AND HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE CAN LEAD TO STROKE AND BLOOD VESSEL CHANGES IN YOUR BRAIN. Reduce

your risk: Last Updated: XXXX Manage cholester ol Control blood pressure Eat healthily Quit smoking Limit alcohol Limit exposure to air pollution A wellbalanced diet can help manage blood pressure and reduce the

risk of stroke. DIABETES DIABETES DAMAGES BLOOD VESSELS THROUGHOUT THE BODY, INCLUDING IN THE BRAIN. This condition may increase risk of: Heart attack and stroke Memory problems and Alzheimers disease Last Updated: XXXX Prevent or control diabetes by: Maintaining a nutritious diet Managing weight through exercise Talking to a health care provider about medicine Maintaining a healthy body

weight may help improve the symptoms related to diabetes. SLEEP PROBLEMS SLEEP-RELATED DIFFICULTIES CAN AFFECT BRAIN HEALTH BY LEADING TO INJURIES, CARDIOVASCULAR ISSUES, AND MEMORY PROBLEMS. What you can do: Common disorders: Sleep apnea Insomnia Narcolepsy Restless Leg Syndrome Last Updated: XXXX Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night Talk to your health care provider

and/or sleep specialist Use a device or medicine, if prescribed Quit smoking Try relaxation techniques Older adults should try to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night. DEMENTIA DEMENTIAS GENERALLY INVOLVE A BUILDUP OF HARMFUL PROTEINS IN THE BRAIN, THE DEATH OF BRAIN CELLS, AND LOSS OF CONNECTIONS AMONG THEM. Known risks: Approaches that show promise in Age Genes, in some people Head injury Stroke Last Updated: XXXX

reducing risk of cognitive decline or dementia, but need more testing: Exercise Healthy diet Controlling high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes Cognitive brain training Alzheimer's Disease is the most common form of dementia. WHERE TO START IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO TAKE IN ALL THE THINGS THAT CAN POSITIVELY OR NEGATIVELY AFFECT BRAIN HEALTH. Start with one small step in the right direction: Schedule a health screening or physical exam Review your medicines with

your health care provider Add one daily serving of vegetables to your diet Start a food, activity, or health journal Find your community centers activity schedule

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