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Alzheimer's Disease & Related Dementias

The Oklahoma Healthy Brain Program promotes brain health, addresses cognitive impairment, and addresses the needs of caregivers. We are focused on the improvement of early detection and diagnosis, increase awareness and education, risk reduction and prevention of comorbidities, and to prevent hospitalizations.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disease and is the most common type of Dementia. This disease affects memory, behavior and thinking. As the disease progresses the symptoms become severe enough to interfere with their activities of daily living.

Dementia is a general term for difficulty remembering, thinking or making decisions. Alzheimer's is the most common type of dementia. It affects older adults; however, it is not a part of normal aging.

Ten Warning Signs:

  1. Memory Loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgment
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood or personality

Learn more about the Ten Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease from the CDC and Alzheimer’s Association.

If you are noticing cognitive problems or symptoms,
please talk to a healthcare professional.

Alzheimer's Disease in Oklahoma (2020)

67,000 129,000 $516 million 53.5%
Oklahomans are living with the disease Oklahomans caring for someone with the disease Medicaid costs of caring for people with Alzheimer's
Of caregivers with chronic health conditions

Alzheimer’s Association Statistics: View Oklahoma Facts and Figures

Age: Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. The majority of those with the disease are age 65 or older.

Family History: Individuals with someone in their family who has had the disease has a higher chance they will develop the disease.

Genetics: There are two categories of genes that influence whether someone develops the disease: deterministic and risk genes. Learn more.

Other factors: Such as head injury, heart-head connection, and healthy aging. Learn more.

  • Head Injury: Traumatic brain injury can increase the risk of dementia, especially if severe or a repeated occurrence. Please protect your head by wearing your seatbelt, helmets, and preparing your home to prevent falls.
  • Heart-Head Connection: Strong evidence suggests that what is good for your heart is good for your brain. Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and high cholesterol appear to increase the risk of vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s. Be sure to work with your doctor and monitor your heart health and treat all problems that arise.
  • Healthy Aging: Strategies for our brain health are like the overall healthy aging strategies and may help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The Ten Ways to Love Your Brain from the Alzheimer’s Association provide 10 healthy habits to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

Ten Ways to Love Your Brain:

  1. Break a Sweat
  2. Hit the Books
  3. Butt Out
  4. Follow your Heart
  5. Heads up
  6. Fuel up Right
  7. Catch Some ZZZ’s
  8. Take Care of Your Mental Health
  9. Buddy Up
  10. Stump Yourself

Learn more: 10 Ways to Love Your Brain | Alzheimer's Association

Adopting a healthy diet is beneficial for both your body and your brain and generally is lower in saturated fats. There are two diets, in particular that, research has found beneficial: the DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet.

DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet

Mediterranean Diet

  • Can help to prevent heart disease and stroke, reduce risk factors of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
  • Based off the diets of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. There are 16 countries that border the sea and there is not one specific diet. They all have in common:
    • Plant based foods: whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices
    • Olive oil is the main fat source
    • Fish, seafood, dairy and poultry in low to moderate amounts
  • Recommended by the American Heart Association to achieve a healthy diet.
  • More information can be found on the Mayo Clinic website.
  • Find examples from the VA on intake, tips, and plate.

Making sure you are physically active is not only good for the overall health of your body, but also associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. If your doctor says it is safe, it is recommended to increase your heart rate through cardiovascular exercise.

When considering an activity to begin, we suggest you pick an activity that will also be socially and mentally engaging. Incorporating activities that you enjoy will help you to continue to engage in that activity.

  • Examples of engaging physical activities:
    • Taking a dance class
    • Golfing
    • Walking with a friend
    • Bike Riding
    • Gardening
    • Tai Chi
    • Silver Sneaker Programs: Find a fitness location near you.

Always consult your doctor before you start any new exercise program.

Falls Prevention

High blood pressure (hypertension) damages arteries in the body. When high blood pressure causes blood vessels in the brain to clog or burst this results in a stroke. The clog or burst artery causes issues with the brain receive oxygen and blood that it needs and begins to die. Strokes can affect memory, language and vision. Strokes and the loss of oxygen and blood to the brain can increase the likelihood of developing Vascular Dementia.

Diabetes is a condition that causes blood sugar to rise. Blood sugars rise due to the body not producing enough insulin or if it can’t effectively use insulin.  Diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels which affects the brain in reduced or blocked blood flow.  The reduction of blood flow to the brain increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, or confusion. Due to the decreased blood flow to the brain, Diabetes can lead to Vascular Dementia. Be sure to talk with your doctor to manage diabetes properly.

  • Healthy Blood Sugar. Healthy Brain.
  • Types of Diabetes:
    • Type 1 (Insulin-Dependent Diabetes): Caused by the immune system attacking and destroying the cells in the pancreas that create insulin.
    • Type 2: (most common form) Caused when the body become resistant to insulin and cannot use it efficiently or the pancreas loses the ability to produce insulin.
  • Learn more about Diabetes and the different types from the American Heart Association.
  • Learn more about the Diabetes programs provided by OSDH.

State Plan

Healthy Brain Informational Materials

Contact Information

Mailing Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
The Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave., Suite 1702
Oklahoma City, OK  73102-6406

Physical Address:
Oklahoma State Department of Health
123 Robert S. Kerr Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK

Phone: (405) 426-8300
Fax: (405) 900-7610