The heart-brain connection is well established, and studies are finding increasing evidence that cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, and obesity contribute to the risk of cognitive decline.
Stroke and dementia are more likely to occur in people with high blood pressure, for example, according to the National Institutes of Health “Mind Your Risks” campaign, which clearly outlines the risks and steps to manage them.
The good new is, many of the steps can easily be incorporated into your daily routines:
- Control high blood pressure
- Quit smoking
- Lower high cholesterol
- Eat healthy and keep active
- Manage your diabetes
- Take your medications
- Avoid the use of illicit drugs and heavy consumption of alcohol
- Stick to the plan
- Start early
The last one is important to emphasize since the earlier you start, the more effective these preventative measures can be. And since today is National Wear Red Day, in honor of the fight against heart disease and stroke, there’s no better time to start than today!
For additional information on the heart-brain connection and improving cardiovascular risk factors, read pages 28-30 in our Successful Aging & Your Brain booklet.
– Ann L. Whitman