A Neurologist View on How to Keep Your Brain Healthy
As we get older we get more and more concerned about finding ways to improve or maintain our memory and over all brain health. What is brain health? For me, a neurologist, I think of a healthy brain as one without signs of damage from strokes, degenerative diseases, or trauma. Basically, it is one that is able to function at its maximal potential. Many people think that having a healthy brain is one that is still functioning without memory problems (intact cognitive functioning).
Most people think that cognitive functioning is just memory. However, cognitive function also includes language, thought processes, executive function, judgment and attention. These components are just as essential as memory for a productive and meaningful life. A decline in cognitive abilities to the point of interfering in the performance of normal activities of daily living is by definition a dementia. Once you have a decline in your cognitive function you are less likely to be able to function independently, recover functionally from illness or injury, or cope with any deficits. Who wants that?
There is a very strong mind – body connection. When the brain is not functioning well then neither will the body. Think of the brain as the hard drive of the computer, if it is not working, then none of the programs that you install on to that computer are going to work either. Just like there are recommendations on how you can keep your hard drive clean and functioning, there are ways to keep your brain healthy and functioning at it maximal potential. For more information see my "Alzheimer dementia" post.
They are no magic pills to make your brain healthy. The best way to keep your brain healthy is through modifications of the risk factors that can potentially cause damage to your brain. These risk factors include: diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, strokes, head trauma, tobacco use, and depression. Also it is recommended to increase the proactive factors that increase odds of a healthier brain as one ages. These include increasing intellectual, physical, and social activity, along with eating a brain healthy diet.
The first step to a healthier brain is to start living a healthier life style. Exercise and nutrition is the key. Let me help you help yourself. Contact me and I will help you decide on what exercise program is right for you and simple ways to start improving your diet.