Train your brain

hispanic woman holding water

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of dementia and the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. Alzheimer’s is a progressive, irreversible disease beginning with mild memory loss involving parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language and can seriously affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities.

The science of risk reduction is quickly evolving, and breakthroughs are within reach. For example, there is growing evidence that people who adopt healthy lifestyle habits — like regular exercise and blood pressure management — can lower their risk of dementia. There is growing scientific evidence that healthy behaviors, which have been shown to prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease, may also reduce the risk for cognitive decline. 

Reduce your risk and improve your brain health with these 8 steps:

  • Prevent and manage high blood pressure. Tens of millions of American adults have high blood pressure, and many do not have it under control.
  • Manage blood sugar. Learn how to manage your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Healthy eating and regular physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be physically active. Physical activity can improve thinking, reduce the risk of depression and anxiety, and help you sleep better.
  • Quit smoking. Quitting smoking now may help maintain brain health and can reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses. Free Quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
  • Avoid excessive drinking. If you drink, do so in moderation.
  • Prevent and correct hearing loss. Make sure to talk to a hearing care professional to treat and manage hearing loss.
  • Get enough sleep. A third of American adults report that they usually get less sleep than the recommended amount. How much sleep do you need? It depends on your age.

If it seems overwhelming to make all these changes at once, try making them gradually. For example, getting an extra 30 minutes of sleep at night, getting an annual physical exam or simply taking a walk every day may make a big difference to your cognitive health. To learn more about better brain health and how to reduce risk, visit Reducing Risk of Alzheimer's Disease | CDC

Experts believe there is not only a single cause of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Multiple factors can play a role such as environment, genetics and lifestyle. Factors that can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s include some that can’t be changed, such as family history, age, and heredity, and some that we can influence. Brain health and overall healthy aging can be managed with good nutrition, exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that older Latinos and older African Americans are at higher risk of having Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Older Latinos are about one and a half times as likely as older whites while older African Americans are about twice as likely to have the disease as older whites. While the reason is not well understood, scientists believe higher rates of vascular disease may also put these groups at higher risk for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. For more information visit What Causes Alzheimer's Disease? | Alzheimer's Association  

Brain health and physical health are both important, especially as we age. CDC reports that people with one or more chronic health conditions are more likely to report worsening or more frequent memory problems, also called subjective cognitive decline (SCD). Chronic health conditions included are diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and kidney disease. SCD was most common among adults with COPD or heart disease, or who had a stroke.

Worsening or more frequent confusion or memory loss, combined with chronic health conditions, can make it especially hard to live independently and do everyday activities like cooking, cleaning, managing health conditions and medicines, and keeping medical appointments. This may lead to worse health, and preventable hospitalizations or more severe memory loss or confusion. In some cases, SCD may put people at greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease. For more information visit Healthy Body, Healthier Brain (

For the latest information about Alzheimer's disease, please contact one of the Alzheimer's Association Missouri chapters listed below or visit the Alzheimer's Association's website.

Greater Missouri Chapter

Columbia Office
1601 E Broadway, Suite 245
Columbia, MO 65201
Office 573-443-8665

Springfield Office
901 E St. Louis St, Ste 702
Springfield, MO 65806
Office 417-886-2199

St. Louis Chapter

St. Louis Office
11433 Olde Cabin Rd, Ste 100
Creve Coeur, MO 63141
Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m

Heart of America Chapter

Main Office
3846 W. 75th Street
Prairie Village, KS 66208
Phone: 913-831-3888
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Midtown Satellite Office
6420 Prospect, T301A
Kansas City, MO 64132
Phone: 816-361-6604
Please call for an appointment

Northland Kansas City Office
5810 NW Barry Road
Spelman Medical Foundation
Lower Level
Office Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Third Thursday of Each Month

Northwest Missouri Regional Office
10th and Faraon
St. Joseph, MO 64501
Phone: 816-364-4467
Office Hours: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Memory Care Home Solutions
4389 West Pine Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63108
(314) 645-6247
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Serving the following areas in Missouri: St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles, and Jefferson County and these counties in Illinois: St. Clair and Madison