To Protect your Brain, Take Care of Your Veins
- Posted on: Nov 15 2017
Brain function is something that may diminish somewhat as we age, at least that is what many people believe. The truth is, our cognitive abilities do not have to decline sharply. We don’t have to forget important information or live in fear of dementia. When we know the factors that are related to diminished brain health, we have more control over the quality of life throughout our senior years. According to the chair of the department of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Dr. Albert Hofman, approximately 30% of dementia diagnosis can be attributed to some vascular disorder.
The Brain-Vein Connection
Heart health is a great matter of importance in our New York offices. There are some vascular conditions that may affect general health, including the brain. These include arteriosclerosis or the hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fatty plaque in the arteries, also contributes to the risk for heart disease. Because each of these conditions disrupts the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain, there is also a secondary risk for diminished brain health when one or the other exists.
Vascular conditions may result in:
- Blockages in the tiny blood vessels in the brain, causing multiple, subtle injuries over time. These events, referred to as “silent strokes,” are a factor in dementia risk.
- Major blockage in an artery within the brain, usually caused by a blood clot, inhibits blood flow, causing immediate damage (stroke). The long-term prognosis for stroke survivors includes an increased risk of dementia.
- The buildup of beta-amyloid, a protein in the blood, is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease and is a consequence of hypoperfusion, or long-term insufficiency in blood flow to the brain.
Two Birds, One Stone
There is good news in research findings that link heart health and brain health. Seeing the connection, there is an increased ability to decrease risk by implementing heart-healthy practices in daily life. Studies suggest that avoiding tobacco use, exercising regularly, and maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels are excellent ways to protect heart health. Blood pressure is also an important aspect of heart and brain health because this measurement directly correlates with stroke risk.
Posted in: Vascular Disorder