As adults, there is a lot to worry. Your heart requires special attention to ensure that it stays healthy and free from cardiovascular health issues. On the other hand, your brain also demands care. The Alzheimer’s Association tells that there are around 5.5 million Americans that are living with Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, the disease occupies the 6th slot of leading causes of death in the US. The whopping numbers leave one shell-shocked. If there is any way that a healthy heart contributes to a healthy brain, then it is crucial that the link is further forged for a healthy future.
Moreover, the fact that Alzheimer’s doesn’t have a cure leaves you to find ways to avoid it in the first place. Research proving that heart-healthy is brain healthy points us to this end of taking preventative measures. It all makes sense if the words of Dr. Steven Greenberg, professor of neurology at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital are taken seriously. He points out, “Everything we think of as being unhealthy for your blood vessels and heart has also been linked to dementia.”
This provides a plausible explanation in understanding how a healthy heart contributes to a healthy brain. A kind of dementia, known as, vascular dementia, also traces a direct link to your heart’s condition. This shows how the heart and brain are fast friends and how the health of one can impact the health of the other. The numbers of brain diseases in on the rise. For instance, someone becomes a victim of dementia in every 66 seconds. Since there is no cure, it is better to stick to the mantra that reads, prevention is better than cure or, as in the Alzheimer’s case, no cure at all.
What Does Research Say?
Studies have only now discovered the inter-dependence between these two vital organs. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association studied this heart-brain health bond. The research tested the cardiovascular health of its participants using the Life’s Simple 7 metrics.
This health chart, Simple 7, is a parameter that defines good cardiovascular health of individuals. It orbits around points that demonstrate that a person has a hale and hearty cardiovascular health. These points include a maintained cholesterol, regulated blood pressure, an ideal weight, no use of tobacco (smoking), an active lifestyle, healthy diet, and reduced blood sugar.
The participants’ brain health was recorded. After a lapse of 6 years, the study checked the cognitive functioning of each individual and compared it against their cardiovascular health. The study ended up concluding that the cognitive decline was less if the cardiovascular health of an individual was well maintained.
A summary of the study’s finding reads:
- Reduced mental decline can be achieved by an ideal cardiovascular health
- A good heart health ensures less mental decline with age along the parameters of brain memory, processing speed, and agility in executing functions.
- The link of cognitive performance was the strongest with a person being non-smoker. This helped to achieve an ideal weight and fasting glucose level.
This is the reason that most people advise you to stay fit in your 20s to reap healthy 40s.
The Link Between Heart Health And Brain Health
There is a strong connective bridge between the heart and the brain when it comes to health. A simple example is vascular dementia. In the case of this ailment, blood flow to the brain is not adequate. With decreased blood reaching the brain, there is less oxygen getting to the brain. A lack of oxygen can seriously damage the brain even if it is for a short time frame.
The culprit here is the heart that is not able to pump enough blood to the brain so it can get the required amount of oxygen. A healthy heart contributes to a healthy brain can also be observed among several other facts. For instance, in the case of a buildup of plaque in the blood vessels that can also add to the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Moreover, microscopic damage to the brain is also responsible for increasing the risk of dementia. Albert Hofman, chair of the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health confirms this. He elucidates, “An estimated one-third of all cases of dementia, including those identified as Alzheimer’s, can be attributed to vascular factors.”
Strokes can also cut the oxygen and blood supply to the brain. In fact, the risk of silent stroke is greater than overt stroke. This means your brain can get damaged without you even knowing of it.
Steps For A Healthy Heart
The best way to ensure that your heart is healthy is by taking immediate steps for its health. Here are some of the measures that you can take to have a healthy cardiovascular system. This is how a healthy heart contributes to a healthy brain:
Maintain an ideal weight
It is very important to shed the additional pounds immediately. The excess fat reserves show a myriad of harmful health consequences. An increased weight contributes to an increase in cholesterol and triglycerides. This reduces the proportion of healthy fats known as HDL. In their stead, LDL rise, adding to the risk of stroke. Overweight or obesity also lead to an increased blood pressure.
For a good heart health, it is important that you eat healthily. This is the first step that controls several other facts such as high cholesterol and high blood sugar. So, instead of eating food that shows a snowball effect on your diet, you should stick to eating nutritious food. If you are willing to give a touch of maximum care, then you can follow a diet that promotes good cardiovascular health.
Follow an active lifestyle
Living a life of a snail is not going to make it easy for you to fend off health concerns. A crucial step in maintaining your heart’s health is ensuring that you have an active lifestyle. Include some exercise in your daily schedule. The most obvious benefit that you see here is that exercise encourages a fast heartbeat that, in turn, speeds up the blood flow to the brain. This provides more oxygen to your body’s central processing unit.
Control your blood pressure
A low blood pressure can mess with your brain’s fitness, altering the much-needed levels of oxygen. There are several ways that a fluctuated BP can impact the heart and your health. It is only wise to follow simple and effective ways to maintain your blood pressure.
Tobacco is not only harmful for your lungs but also for your heart, which means that the black tar also impacts your brain. Tobacco caused heart disease that contributes to 20% of deaths annually. It is important that you take steps to give up smoking at your earliest.
In addition to these efforts, you also need to control your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Shift stress to the backseat in your life. It doesn’t deserve the steering wheel because the harmful health effects are numerous. It is better to start immediately. And this is how you will witness that a healthy heart contributes to a healthy brain.