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Take care of your heart, take care of your … brain?

Many people are more concerned about the health of their brain than the health of their heart. And there’s good reason.

Dementia is a devastating condition and affects many families. If you have a loved one who is affected, you’re like the more than 5 million other American families who live with Alzheimer’s disease. This number is projected to triple by 2050.

Alzheimer’s is not only debilitating, it is also deadly, taking more lives each year than prostate and breast cancer combined. Alzheimer’s is exhausting for caregivers, with 60% experiencing high levels of stress and one third experiencing depression. It’s no wonder most of us are extremely motivated to avoid this condition.

It turns out heart health and brain health are linked. The association between poor heart function and abnormal brain aging, as evidenced by smaller brain volumes, has long been recognized. But a new study of over 1000 older patients followed for nearly 8 years documents the link between heart function and the development of Alzheimer’s disease: diminished heart function doubles, and in some cases even triples, the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease over time.

Yet another reminder that it’s all interconnected. And when we look at our health in discrete buckets (this is good for my heart, this is good for my bones, this is good for my brain) – we miss the incredible complexity of our bodies. Ultimately, healthy is simply healthy – all around.

References:
http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_and_figures.asp#quickFacts
http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2015/02/19/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.012438

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