In fact, the best chance for keeping your brain healthy — far into your senior years — can be as simple as keeping your body healthy.
But it takes a commitment, and maybe just a bit of sideline support. So the OHSU Brain Institute has recently launched its Healthy Brain Campaign. At the center of the campaign are seven simple lessons to live by — and live well by. They are the American Heart Association’s “Simple 7” steps for healthy living: get active, control your cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight, eat better, manage your blood pressure, reduce your blood sugar and stop smoking.
Over the next several months, the Brain Institute’s Healthy Brain Campaign will focus on those simple steps — and help you understand how to achieve each one of them. But you need an accomplice and a helper. The first step is to work with your primary care provider. Or, if you don’t have one, find one. Here are some simple steps:
• find the primary care providers who are covered by your insurance plan’s network.
• learn more about the providers who interest you. If you are interested in an OHSU provider, OHSU has a web page that can help. You can also learn more about many Portland area physicians at Portland Monthly’s annual review of top physicians. WebMD’s website also has a physician directory that provides a listing of physicians, including their locations, years of experience and insurance carriers they accept.
• once you find your provider, develop a trusting and effective relationship with him or her. Be open about your health concerns and your lifestyle. Ask questions. Listen carefully to your provider’s advice. Work with your provider to set realistic goals — and then begin implementing the changes she or he recommends.
The road to better health — and toward maintaining a healthy brain — has a first step. Take that first step.
Kent L. Thornburg, Ph.D.
M. Lowell Edwards Chair, Professor of Medicine, OHSU School of Medicine
Director, Center for Developmental Health, Knight Cardiovascular Institute
Director, Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness