It has been found that a fit heart may prevent cognitive decline in the elderly.
The latest research shows that keeping your ticker ticking may lead to sharper mental functioning among the senescent. Those senior citizens who met seven of the compulsory goals for heart health were more likely to be mentally fit and have intact memories when tested six years later.
Both patients and their physicians were advised to monitor the former’s heart health since it was vitally linked with cognitive prosperity. The mind seemed to stay young as long as the ticker kept pumping fresh blood to the rest of the body.
It is not just a matter of cardiovascular health but mental health as well. The brain thrives when the heart is healthy. An unhealthy heart indicates that the person is not as mentally sharp or fit as he or she should be.
The study involved 1000 people. The mean age was 72 years. Two thirds of the population sample were Hispanic while 19% were black and merely 16% were white. The population was evaluated for the seven criteria of heart health.
These seven consist of the following:
1. Management of Hypertension
2. Cholesterol Control
3. Reduction of Blood Sugar Levels
4. A Modicum of Activity per Weekly Basis
5. A Good Diet
6. Weight Loss (If you are on the Hefty Side)
7. A Cessation of Tobacco Usage (if you happen to be a Smoker)
None of the participants met all seven goals. Only 1% met six of the goals. 4% met five goals. 14% met four goals. 30% met 3 goals. Finally, 33% met two goals and 15% met only one goal. 3% met none of the goals whatsoever. The participants were tested at the beginning of the study for memory levels, cognitive functioning and processing abilities of the brain.
After half a dozen years or so, 722 of them were again tested with regard to their mental skills. Those who had improved heart health were also sharper mentally and had greater clarity on a cognitive level.
Several lifestyle factors entered the equation. Focus, organized style of acting in real life and managing time wisely figured among the markers. Vascular deterioration may lead to decline in brain functioning alongside damaged heart health.
Therefore, heart health and brain status go hand in hand. The link is critical. It shows the crucial need for fitness of the cardiac muscle since it causes greater focal abilities of the brain.
"In addition, further study is needed to identify the age ranges, or periods over the life course, during which cardiovascular health factors and behaviors may be most influential in determining late-life cognitive impairment, and how behavioral and health modifications may influence cognitive performance and mitigate decline over time," said Hannah Gardener, Sc.D., the study's lead author and assistant scientist in neurology at the Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, in Florida.
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This study was published in the March 16 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association.