Recent information published by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Presidential Advisory emphasized the importance of seven steps people can take to foster brain health, reduce the risk of dementia/Alzheimer’s; decrease stroke risk; heart attacks and overall reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Referred to as “Life’s Simple 7” the steps are:
- Manage blood pressure
- Control cholesterol
- Keep blood sugar normal
- Get physically active
- Eat a healthy diet
- Lose extra weight
- Avoid or quit smoking
How Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Affects Brain Health
Philip Gorelick, M.D., M.P.H., and the chair of the advisory’s writing group stated: “Elevations in blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar can cause impairment of the large and smaller blood vessels, launching a cascade of complications that reduce brain blood flow. High blood pressure, which affects about 1 in 3 U.S. adults, is known to damage blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart and brain. The damage can lead to atherosclerosis as well as associated clotting with subsequent vascular cognitive impairment, or vascular dementia.
Additional information can be found at the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.