Long-Term Brain Health Tops Heart Disease and Cancer When It Comes To Our Fears About Diseases
As referenced in the previous blog post on How Cardiovascular Risk Factors Impact Long-Term Brain Health, hypertension (high blood pressure) is linked to brain health issues.
A landmark study in the United States among hypertension patients showed that aggressively lowering blood pressure significantly reduced the risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. This was a large, government-back clinical trial involving over 9300 hypertension patients.
The study showed that aggressively reducing systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) to below 120 resulted in a 19% lower rate of new cases of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and a 15% reduction in both MCI and dementia. Reducing blood pressure has long been known as a critical factor in lowering the risks for stroke and heart attacks. Scientists now know that doing so also supports healthy brain aging.
Dropping and maintaining a stable blood pressure is easier said than done in today’s hectic world of pressing needs. However, high blood pressure deprives the brain of blood and nutrients. It is best to monitor your blood pressure yearly after age 40 and to develop a blood pressure reduction and maintenance plan with your physician if necessary.
Why should you make these lifestyle changes starting today no matter what your age? Partially the answer is because prevention is better than cure. Also, as Sandra Bond Chapman, the founder and director of the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas, told the Chicago Tribune in early 2018, “Alzheimer’s now tops heart disease and cancer when it comes to our fear factor about diseases.”
Plus, as she notes, “Science is showing for the first time that our brain is the most modifiable part of our body and the easiest to strengthen, more than our heart or teeth.”
It is little wonder that scientists are vehemently telling us that heart-healthy strategies, like managing blood pressure and diabetes, are important ways to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. For more tips on improving the long-term health of your brain, see:
In essence, your lifestyle choices not only impact your heart health, they also impact the long-term health of your brain. So, if you are interested in protecting the long-term health of your brain, the time to make sensible lifestyle choice around eating, sleeping, weight loss, exercise, meditation, mindfulness, and stress management is now.
This article is partially excerpted from my award-winning book Better Decisions Better Thinking Better Outcomes: How to go from Mind Full to Mindful Leadership, available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. The book is the recipient of a Silver Award from the Nonfiction Authors Association for bringing “a comprehensive plan of action for improving life through recognizing decision-making patterns that don’t serve us well, don’t enrich our lives, and don’t bring us to our goals and dreams.” It also received a Distinguished Favorite Award in the 2019 Independent Press Awards leadership category.