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Local InterestBY SHERII SHERBANMany suspected it; researchers be- gan to focus on it; results are support- ing it. We are able to have an impact on reducing our risk for cognitive decline. Studies have focused on overall health, chronic condition management, move- ment and exercise, diet, social engage- ment, hearing, depression, medication management, and even education and challenging your brain. Next will be to confirm that combining these lifestyle changes decreases risk even further. It’s never too late to make new choices.The Lancet Commission found that one third of dementias may be preventable with just nine modifiable risk factors.An international panel of 24 experts reviewed the literature and found nine modifiable risk factors across the lifes- pan that could collectively reduce de- mentia risk by 30-35%, not including special diets. Realistically, the risk could be impacted by even greater percentages when diet is adjusted as well.Lancet Commission recommendations:• Early Life: Staying in school untilat least the age of 15 years. (Better yet, continue education through the lifespan.)• Mid Life (~45-66): Vigorous treat- ment of hypertension, and maintain- ing overall good health through diet and exercise. Prevent obesity. Stop smoking. Guard against hearing loss. Keep socially active.Brain Health To Be Taken Seriously• Later Life: Manage depression. Guard against diabetes. Continue with the recommendations for mid life.Get Moving – Stay Moving: We’ve been talking about this since Miles for Memories started. In fact, it was the motivation for getting started. Running or walking at least 15.3 miles per weekwas shown to decrease Alzheimer’s-re- lated mortality by as much as 40%. The goal is to get the cardiovascular system delivering oxygen to the brain.While all movement has benefit, espe- cially for other health-related issues, weight-bearing seems to be the most beneficial for reducing the rate of cog- nitive decline.Clean Those Pipes: Those activities that reduce blood flow to the brain may increase your risk so eliminating smok- ing will allow your vascular response to increase. Keep your cholesterol under control, eliminating potential blockage. And if you’ve had a cardiovascular inci- dent, from heart attack to stroke, be sure to follow your doctor’s directions for maintaining adequate blood flow. Final- ly, if oxygen deprivation is an issue, such as with sleep apnea, don’t let the dis- comfort of a CPAP machine, or daytime oxygen, keep you from getting your brain what it needs to continue to thrive. Other chronic conditions that may need to be managed might include cardio-pul- monary disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and even diabetes.Early Education – Continued Ed- ucation: According to the Lancet Com- mission staying in school until you’re at least 15 will help to reduce your risk for dementia. Furthermore, continuing your education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, join a Lifelong Learning Program, take a class at a lo- cal college, community center, or online. Keep your brain active from reading to crosswords puzzles, think creatively or strategically, but keep it working.Prevent Injury: The risk of head in- jury comes with just about everythingThank You VeteransIt’s not the years in your life, it’s the life in your years.200 Westbrook Court, Marshall, MI 49068 269.781.4997 • Fx: 269.789.2289 • www.maplewoodofmarshall.com28 SCENE 4309 I HEALTH ISSUE

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