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Discover the top risk factors, key symptoms, and the secrets to maintaining a healthy brain!


Did you know that 11% of Malaysians are projected to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia by 2050? 

The prevalence of Alzheimer’s is increasing in our country, making it crucial for us to understand the illness and the importance of maintaining a healthy brain. Let's take the opportunity of Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month to educate ourselves about the risk factors, symptoms, and ways to maintain a healthy brain. Let's get started!



Alzheimer’s is developed through a combination of risk factors, some which are in our control, and some of which are not.

Age - The major risk factor of Alzheimer’s is old age. The disease is seen mostly in older adults aged 65 and above. A person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease doubles every 5 years after this age. In fact, according to Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia, one in six people above age 80 have this disease.

Gender – Women are more prone to Alzheimer’s disease than men – in fact women over 65 are twice more likely to get the illness compared to men. It was previously thought that women lived longer than men, hence the prevalence, however now it is widely believed that the lack of hormone oestrogen post-menopause could be a contributing factor.

Genetic inheritance – Though there are families where Alzheimer’s disease passes down generation to generation, this is quite rare. The influence of genetics is much more subtle, and it boils down to a few genes that either increase or decrease the chances of getting Alzheimer’s. For instance, people with Down’s syndrome are more likely to develop the disease because of a difference in their genetic makeup.

Lifestyle – Medical conditions such as diabetes, stroke and heart problems are known to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. Depression is also a considerable risk factor – getting treatment is vital to reduce risk. Generally, living a healthy lifestyle with a good diet, adequate exercise, and without smoking or drinking in excess can help to keep Alzheimer’s at bay.


Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, it is imperative that symptoms are spotted early so that it can be managed. Some of the early signs of Alzheimer’s include:

Memory loss – losing items around the house, forgetting someone’s name, forgetting appointments and anniversaries, and such.

Reduced visuospatial skills –problems judging distance and depth, simple tasks like parking a car or climbing a staircase become much harder.

Difficulty following a sequence – recipes and step-by-step instructions are a struggle to follow.

Confusion of time and place – losing track of basic information like day, date, time and place.

Loss of language skills –inability to speak or string a coherent sentence or repetition of words and sentences.


Want to keep Alzheimer’s at bay? Keep the brain active!

DO exercise regularly
Multiple studies have shown that people who are physically active are less likely to experience cognitive decline and have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
DO watch what you eat
A diet of good fats, wholegrains and vegetables (also called the Mediterranean diet) has shown to result in lower risk of getting Alzheimer’s than other diets. Generally eating less red meat and salt and eating more food with Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce cognitive decline.
DO pursue formal education
Any learning that has structure can help mitigate cognitive decline. Take a class online or even at your local community centre!
DO challenge yourself mentally
Attempt a crossword puzzle or jigsaw puzzle. Fix some furniture. Solve the Rubik’s cube. Challenging and stimulating your mind has positive effects and can reduce risk of cognitive decline.
DON’T skip on sleep
Sleep plays an important role in brain health and lack of sleep can result in problems with memory and thinking. If you are not able to get eight consecutive hours of sleep, you maybe having sleep apnea – speak to a professional about it.
DON’T skip the safety gear
Brain injuries and impact have shown to increase risk of cognitive decline gradually. If your hobbies involve extreme sports or racing, consider getting decked in full protective gear. You never know when it may come in handy!
DON’T neglect your mental health
Studies have shown an increase in cognitive decline for those who suffer from a history of depression. See a therapist if you are suffering from any mental health conditions.

Take care of your brain from now on by doing all the above and by preparing it for future diseases like Alzheimer’s disease with our online critical illness plan, eCritical Early Care.

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Astro Awani. (Feb 2023). Malaysia facing dementia 'timebomb'.

Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia. Who gets Alzheimer's disease?

Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia. Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Homage Malaysia. (Mar 2021). Alzheimer’s Disease 101: Causes, Symptoms, Stages, Treatment & Prevention.

Mayo Clinic. (Dec 2022). 6 Tips to Keep Your Brain Healthy

AARP. (2023). June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month: Learn 10 Ways to Love Your Brain

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