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What the heart has to do with the head - Bonner County Daily Bee

If you want to protect your brain, get busy protecting your heart.

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Lifestyle behaviors that boost cardiovascular health, such as physical activity and quitting smoking, also contribute to good cognitive health.

It starts with adequate blood flow.

“If the heart isn’t pumping strongly or the blood vessels leading to or in the brain are not working right, the brain won’t get enough of the food and energy it needs to function,” said Dr. David B. Wheeler, stroke center medical director at Wyoming Medical Center and founder of Wyoming Neurologic Associates.

Failing brain function can impair thinking, memory, concentration, energy levels and bodily systems regulated by the brain. Stroke and dementia, including Alzheimer‘s disease, are some of the most serious risks of poor brain and heart health.

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Although it is normal for the brain to become less efficient with aging, maintaining good heart health can help the brain function well in later years, Wheeler said. One recent study even found cardiovascular health in childhood may impact cognition in adulthood.

Another recent study found stiffening of the arteries is linked to reduced blood flow in the brain. It’s possible that harmful blood pressure resulting from stiffening of the arteries might injure the brain’s smaller, more fragile blood vessels, said the study’s lead author Angela Jefferson, a profe Read More

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