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Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory, thinking, and other important mental functions. As the disease progresses, it affects a person’s ability to carry out simple tasks like getting dressed or making a cup of coffee. There are an estimated 5.8 million people living with this disease in the United States alone. While Alzheimer’s is most common in people aged 65 years or older, nearly 200,000 people in the United States suffer from younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease. How can I reduce my risk for Alzheimer’s disease? Alzheimer’s disease is often associated with old age, but it’s not a normal part of aging. Though there is no proven way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, there’s a lot you can do to lower your chance of getting it. In fact, the same things that are good for your heart and body may also reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, including: • Regular Check-ups Research shows a strong connection between Alzheimer’s and conditions like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Visiting the doctor for regular preventive care screenings will help lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Preventive care focuses on illness and disease prevention and includes wellness visits, immunizations, and screenings for blood pressure, cancer, cholesterol, depression, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes. • Regular Exercise Excess weight increases your risk for conditions like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Research has also found that obesity can change the brain in a way that increases your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Regular exercise helps increase blood flow to the brain, which makes your brain healthier. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 30 minutes of activity at least five times a week. • Regular Stimulation People who keep learning and stay social might have a lower risk for the cognitive decline typically associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Though the exact reason is not clear, this type of mental stimulation may strengthen connections between nerve cells in the brain. When you see your doctor regularly, they can detect and treat conditions or diseases early, before they become serious or life threatening. Get the corWorld Alzheimer’s Day: How to Reduce Your Risk For Alzheimer’s Disease Family Medicine.