According to Mark Mattson, Ph.D., chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Maryland, research on animals and with HIV-negative people has found that regular exercise can do the following:
Dr. Mattson adds that exercise can have these effects by doing the following:
According to one of Canada's leading neuroscientists, University of Toronto professor Sean Rourke, Ph.D., there are many things that are good for the brain. The easiest way to remember these, he says, is with this phrase:
"Anything that's good for the heart is good for the brain."
Professor Rourke recommends that people seek help from their healthcare providers to deal with issues that can significantly affect heart and brain health, such as the following:
A significant body of research and a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association backs up Rourke's phrase about the connection between the brain and the heart. In that study of more than 17,000 Americans, researchers found that people with intermediate or good cardiovascular health were at substantially reduced risk of cognitive impairment.
The American Heart Association has a new measure of cardiovascular health called "Life's Simple 7." This is based on a mix of behaviours and assessments that can be improved over time to help increase a person's cardiovascular health. The key points of "Life's Simple 7" are as follows:
By working with a care team to deal with these issues, heart and brain health can be improved.
The focus of care for HIV-positive people has historically revolved around assessments of the immune system and the response to anti-HIV therapy. However, as HIV-positive people live longer thanks to ART, looking after overall health becomes important. That's where family doctors, nurses and, in some cases, pharmacists play a key role. Their wisdom, experience, advice and referrals to specialists are a vital part of maintaining and/or improving overall health.
For more information about improving cardiovascular health, see HIV and cardiovascular disease.
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