Have a Heart, Your Brain Depends on it!

by | Jan 29, 2024 | Blog, Brain Health, Dementia, Monthly Theme

Every part of our body is intricately connected, and this is especially true for our heart and brain! It may surprise you to learn that for every heartbeat, 20-25% of the blood goes to our head. An Alzheimer’s Association report notes that our brain cells are using around 20% of the oxygen and food carried by the blood just to function normally. Additional studies have found that at death, approximately 80% of people with Alzheimer’s Disease also had cardiovascular disease. By keeping a healthy heart, we can also help lower our risk for brain problems such as stroke and dementia. Let’s find out how!

There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and vascular dementia.

Control Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke, and over time puts too much stress on blood vessels. Less than half of the 1.3 million adult Wisconsinites with hypertension have it controlled, and of those with it uncontrolled, approximately 40% are unaware they even have hypertension. Scientist now know that having uncontrolled high blood pressure in midlife also raises your risk for dementia later in life. Know your numbers by getting your blood pressure checked regularly. If your blood pressure is high, work to manage it.

Eat Healthy & Limit Alcohol
Eating a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, as well as limiting sugars, saturated fats, and sodium (salt) intake can keep your heart and brain healthy. If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. Drinking too much alcohol raises blood pressure, which can lead to stroke and increase the risk of some kinds of heart disease.

Control Diabetes
Diabetes causes high blood sugar, which can damage blood vessels and nerves. This damage raises the risk for heart disease, stroke, and dementia.

Don’t Smoke
Smoking damages blood vessels and makes blood more likely to clot, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. We are here for you with resources on how to quit.

Stay Active
Lack of physical activity can lead to high blood pressure and obesity. It is recommended to have at least 150 minutes (or 2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity activity per week. Getting your heart pumping for at least 150 minutes per week doesn’t have to be work, though! Take the stairs, schedule a walk at lunch, or do jumping jacks during commercial breaks.

Staying on top of your health is not a journey you need to be on alone, and making changes doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Bit by bit we can do this together. Here at ADRC, we have numerous programs and resources to help keep your body and brain healthy.

When making lasting changes to health or diet, try small steps first such as eating a healthy meal one time daily or getting in physical activity three times a week. You can then build up. Still feel like too much? Give us a call and we’ll help come up with a plan together!


Sources: CDC National Health Interview Survey

Additional Information & Support

We are here to help you and your family with a wide variety of community resource options. For assistance by phone, or to make an appointment, contact us.

(920) 448-4300 | WI Relay 711

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