Want to be Alzheimer’s Free? A Healthy Heart May Help

February 23rd, 2012

Studies show that people with a higher HDL, or good cholesterol level, may be at a lower risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. While doctors don’t agree on just how much a healthy heart can protect against Alzheimer’s disease, most do believe there is a connection between the two. With a staggering one out of every five Americans reporting high bad cholesterol levels, these findings can be significant.

The belief is that excess bad cholesterol in the blood leads to increased bad cholesterol in the brain, and that increased production of cholesterol in the brain promotes production of plaques, which cause Alzheimer’s.

Guidelines for cholesterol recommend that men raise HDL levels that are under 40 mg/dL and that women increase HDL numbers under 50 mg/dL. An HDL of 60 mg/dL or higher with a total cholesterol level of under 200 is optimal.

It is also believed that high blood pressure (above 140/90) increases the risk of Alzheimer’s by damaging blood vessels. The blood vessels become stiffer and this may lead to a decrease in the nutrients that can get to the brain and feed cells in the brain. Medications and lifestyle changes that have been used to promote heart health may protect brain health as well.

Visiting Angel’s in-home caregivers are well trained in preparing tasty and nutritious meals for someone trying to lower his or her cholesterol level. If you live in the San Francisco Bay area and need in-home care support, contact us in Alameda County at (510) 284-0000 or in Santa Clara County at (408) 735-0977 for more information.