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How is your brain aging?

Jessica AlbrechtJessica AlbrechtScientists and educators at three U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies—the Administration for Community Living (ACL), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health—have been researching and reporting on how aging affects brain health and what people can do to help keep their brains functioning best.

“As we get older, many of us have a little more trouble recalling things quickly or reacting as fast as we used to,” said Dr. Richard J. Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health in a press release from the ACL. “Knowing what is normal and not normal, and—more importantly—what you can do to help keep your brain working its best can reduce fears and improve health.”

Developing a brain disease or injury as you age depends on a mix of your family’s genes, your environment, and your health choices. Diseases and conditions that affect brain health include:

  • Genetic makeup
  • Certain medicines, smoking and excessive alcohol
  • Health problems like diabetes and heart disease
  • Diseases like depression and Alzheimer’s
  • Brain injury
  • Poor diet, insufficient sleep, lack of physical and social activity

Some risks to brain health cannot be controlled or prevented, like your genes. Others, like health choices, are under your control. For example, you can:

  • Take care of your health
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Drink alcohol moderately, if at all
  • Get active and stay active
  • Sleep 7-8 hours each night
  • Learn new things
  • Connect with your family, friends, and communities

The Healthy Living program at LifePath can help you learn how to turn making these choices into a habit of your daily living. Healthy Living workshops cover topics like healthy eating, diabetes and other chronic disease self-management skills, as well as balance and exercise classes. Vist the Healthy Living page or contact us to learn more.