Alzheimer's Disease - Decreasing the Risk

Foods high in fat, meat and dairy products, foods high in saturated fat such as fried and processed foods as well as fish high in mercury, refined sugars and sugary beverages are all associated with increased AD risk.

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So, how can we decrease our risk of developing AD? Here are five key lifestyle changes:

1.   Get moving and lose weight. Inactivity is linked to greater weight gain, which is associated with increased levels of inflammation. Walking on a regular basis is associated with decreased brain shrinkage and exercising outside lowers the rate of depression, associated with increased risk of AD.

2.   Don’t smoke. Smoking is inflammatory and damages our respiratory and cardiovascular system.

3.   Eat more fruits and vegetables. The more fruits and vegetables consumed, the higher the intake of antioxidants, potassium and other micronutrients and the lower the average blood pressure, all of which tend to lower AD risk.


4.   Get enough sleep. Recent research points to poor sleep patterns as increasing risk for type two diabetes, which can increase chances of developing AD.

5.   Increase mentally stimulating activities such as social engagement, work, or mentally challenging leisure activities exercising the brain is important to prevent cognitive decline.
Although this only scratches the surface of Alzheimer’s, a healthy lifestyle is currently our best point of attack in the battle against AD.


William M. Simpson Jr., MD is the Emeritus Professor of Family Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina. For more information visit

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William M. Simpson Jr., MD
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