Dr Zoe says walking can reduce risk of dementia
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New research presented by the American College of Cardiology cautioned that noise pollution could “harm your health”. In an analysis of 16,000 people, those who lived in nosier environments were more likely to experience a heart attack. Participants were divided into those who experienced an average of 65 decibels or higher, similar to that of a loud conversation or laughter, and those exposed to “low noise exposure” of less than 50 decibels. Abel E Moreyra, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, commented on the study.
“As cardiologists, we are used to thinking about many traditional risk factors such as smoking, hypertension or diabetes.
“This study and others suggest maybe we should start thinking about air pollution and noise pollution as additional risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”
Cardiovascular disease also increases dementia risk, the Alzheimer’s Society pointed out.
Audiologist Asa Richards advised people who use a white noise machine as a sleeping aid to “only listen to white noise out loud or at a low level through headphones”.
Richards cautioned that higher decibel levels can have a “detrimental” effect, which may also include other noises while trying to sleep that could otherwise keep you up.
“Soft earplugs can block the noise [of] road, rail or air traffic at night,” said Richards.
“You can also find in-ear headphones that are comfortable for side sleepers to block out the noise.”
Some cost-effective ways to help block out the sound from outside to help you fall asleep, and to potentially minimise heart disease risk, is to have “soft wall hangings and acoustic curtains”.
Richards explained: “Thick curtains and fabric wall hangings help absorb more of the vibrations from noise outside, meaning it’s quieter in your bedroom during the night.
“This can be especially helpful if your bedroom is the closest to the road.”
The heart disease and Alzheimer’s link
Experts at the Alzheimer’s Society noted that the “heart-brain link is vital for supplying brain cells with energy and oxygen”.
The charity pointed out that improving your heart health, through diet and exercise, can help to reduce the risk of dementia.
“Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease have many overlapping risk factors,” the charity added.
Examples include poor heart health in mid-life and carrying the APOE4 risk gene.
How to minimise dementia risk
The NHS pointed out that risk factors for dementia include loneliness or social isolation, a sedentary lifestyle, untreated depression and hearing loss.
Consequently, to help improve your dementia risk, it might be helpful to wear a hearing aid (if needs be), to be more active, and to foster close friendships.
“Experts agree that what’s good for your heart is also good for your brain,” the NHS added.
In order to help improve your brain health, you need to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Moreover, you need to maintain a healthy weight, keep alcohol consumption to a minimum, and to keep your blood pressure in the ideal range.
Asa Richards is a qualified audiologist at Hearmore UK.
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