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These 6 common habits are increasing your chances of getting Alzheimer's, according to experts

Posted September 5

Some causes are genetic, but research proves there are certain things you can control. (Deseret Photo)

Having a family member with Alzheimer’s feels like losing them over and over again. You remember your love for them, and their love for you, while they have no memory of it.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, and its effects are irreversible, according to Mayo Clinic. This means that your symptoms will continually get worse. These symptoms can include:

- Confusion

- Memory loss

- Challenges communicating or recalling words

- Challenges with problem-solving

- Difficulty with organizing

- Depression

- Change of personality

- Anxiety

- Hallucinating

- Agitation

- Challenges with fine motor skills

More research is necessary to truly understand the disease, but current research says these habits can heighten your risk of Alzheimer’s:

1. Drinking a lot of alcohol

If you are drinking more than two and a half alcoholic drinks a day, beware. A study in the medical journal "Neurology," found that middle-aged men who drank more than two and a half drinks a day developed memory loss and mental decline six years earlier than those who either didn’t drink at all, or were light drinkers.

2. Pulling all-nighters

Not getting enough sleep creates a whole slew of problems -- and heightened risk of Alzheimer’s is one of them, according to brain scientist Jeffrey Iliff.

Iliff told NPR that when you sleep, your brain cleans out toxins that are linked to Alzheimer’s. If you aren’t getting enough deep sleep, your brain can’t clear out all the garbage that it needs to.

3. Smoking

If you are still smoking … why? Aside from all the other deathly side effects that accompany this toxic habit, it doubles your risk for Alzheimer’s, according to WebMD.

4. Ignoring heavy snoring

One of the signs of sleep apnea is snoring (though if you snore it doesn’t necessarily mean you have sleep apnea). Sleep apnea prevents you from getting the oxygen you need while you sleep; so if you think you might have it, get it checked out.

5. Eating pasta, certain cheese and sandwich meat

Just like the rest of your body, your brain needs the right vitamins to keep it healthy. Eating too many of the wrong foods can create toxins in your body, which in turn creates plaque build-up and inflammation in your brain, according to Alzheimers.net.

Replace these harmful foods:

- Pasta

- White bread

- White rice

- White flour

- White sugar

- American cheese

- Sausages

- Cold cut sandwich meats

- Processed cheese (like Easy Squeeze and Laughing Cow)

- Margarine

- Microwave popcorn

With foods that feed your brain the nutrients it needs, such as:

- Vegetables (especially leafy greens)

- Berries or other dark-skinned fruits

- Salmon

- Chocolate

- Healthy oils (cold-pressed coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil)

6. Not wearing a helmet

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there may be a strong link between those who have head injuries developing Alzheimer’s further down the road. Wear a helmet when doing anything that could result in head or brain trauma.

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com

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