Managing heart health for better brain health | Kiowa County Press

(Family Features) The same risk factors that help make heart disease the leading cause of death worldwide also impact the growing global prevalence of brain diseases, including stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Madness.

According to the American Heart Association, the worldwide death rate from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is increasing even more than the death rate from heart disease. Heart disease and stroke statistics update 2022.

Globally, more than 54 million people had Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in 2020, a 37% increase since 2010 and a 144% increase over the past 30 years (1990 -2020). Additionally, more than 1.89 million deaths were attributed to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias worldwide in 2020, compared to nearly 9 million deaths from heart disease.

“The global rate of brain disease is rapidly exceeding heart disease,” said Mitchell SV Elkind, MDMS, FAHA, former president of the American Heart Association (2020-21), professor of neurology and epidemiology at Vagelos College of Physicians from Columbia University. and attending surgeons and neurologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. “We are learning more about how certain types of dementia are linked to aging and how certain types are due to poor vascular health. It is becoming increasingly clear that reducing risk factors for vascular disease can make a real difference in helping people live longer, healthier lives. , free from heart disease and brain disease.”

According to the updated statistics, people with mid-life hypertension were five times more likely to suffer from impaired global cognition and about twice as likely to suffer from reduced executive function, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The risk of dementia associated with heart failure was nearly doubled.

Experts recommend maintaining a healthy weight, managing your blood pressure, and following other heart-healthy lifestyle habits that may also support good brain health, while studies show that maintaining good vascular health is associated with healthy aging and retained cognitive function.

Optimal brain health includes the ability to perform tasks such as movement, perception, learning and memory, communication, problem solving, judgment, decision making, and emotions. Cognitive decline and dementia are often seen as a result of stroke or cerebrovascular disease and indicate a decline in brain health.

Consider these steps to adopt a healthier lifestyle and protect your heart and brain health:

  • Do not smoke; avoid second-hand smoke.
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Be aware of your eating habits; eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and added sugars.
  • Be physically active. Start slow and work your way up to at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity (like brisk walking) each week. Alternatively, you can do 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or a combination of both, to improve overall cardiovascular health.
  • Have your blood pressure checked regularly and work with your healthcare team to manage it if it is high.
  • Have regular medical checkups and take your medications as directed.
  • Decrease your stress level and seek emotional support if needed.

To learn more about the relationship between heart health and brain health, go to

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

American Heart Association

About Florence M. Sorensen

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