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Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness

This month is a great time to learn about healthy lifestyle choices that can help keep your brain or your loved one’s brain healthy.

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out simple tasks. Age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, but not the only one. While some brain changes are common as we age, we also know that adopting a healthy lifestyle may help our brains age healthier.

The Alzheimer’s Association offers these six tips to promote better brain health:

  • Move Your Body- Helps increase blood flow to the body and brain, and regular physical activity is linked to better memory and thinking.

  • Maintain a heart-healthy diet- Meals that contain whole grains, green leafy vegetables, fish, and berries, are linked to better cognitive functioning, and help reduce the risk of heart disease as well. Alaska is full of healthy fish and wild foods that you can include in your brain-healthy meals!

  • Get proper sleep- Maintaining a regular sleep pattern is good for your physical and mental health. We should aim for at least seven hours of sleep each night and try to keep a routine bedtime.

  • Stay socially and mentally active- Being connected with your community and friends may support brain health. Exercising your brain is as important as exercising your body. Try completing a jigsaw puzzle or playing strategy games or learning and teaching someone one new word in your native language every day.

  • Keep your whole self healthy- Other medical conditions can also impact your brain health. If you have a condition like high blood pressure or diabetes, make sure you take care of yourself. Work with your healthcare provider and your family to find the right care plan to help you be in your best health.

  • Limit smoking, drinking, and tobacco- Some things like smoking, tobacco, and alcohol can make our brain health worse. Quitting or minimizing the use of these things can help our brains stay healthy.

These are great steps to take at any age. Following all six tips will have the greatest benefit, but even if you begin with one or two you’re moving in the right direction.

If you or your loved ones start to notice changes in your memory, it’s important to bring them up with your healthcare provider. Some memory changes can be caused by treatable conditions or by medications. But, if those are not the cause, a diagnosis can help you learn how to slow your symptom progression, increase your access to medications and services, and give you information to plan for the future. The Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska are great places to learn more. The Caregiver Resource guide can help families with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

To learn how to manage or prevent chronic diseases.

  • Visit the State of Alaska website to learn more about preventing chronic diseases, staying active, or losing weight at

  • The Alaska Tobacco Quitline has resources and services available in a variety of languages. Stopping tobacco is one major step to better health. Email the Alaska Tobacco Prevention and Control Program ( for copies or visit the ATQL

Written by the Division of Public Health


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