Skip to main content

Your heart health and brain health are connected. 

Cardiovascular conditions, or those that affect the heart and blood vessels, are linked to a higher risk of developing dementia later in life. These conditions include: 

  • high blood pressure (hypertension) 
  • high cholesterol 
  • type 2 diabetes 
  • obesity 
  • heart disease (for example, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, previous heart attack) 

The link gets stronger if you have these conditions in your 40s and 50s. 

So the more you do to take care of your heart, the better the result for your brain health. And it’s never too soon, or too late, to start. 

What you can do 

There’s a lot you can do to improve your heart health, and the good news is, it doesn’t just reduce your risk of developing dementia. Taking care of your heart makes a big difference to your general health and wellbeing. 

Here are some things you can do today to take care of your heart health: 

Get regular health check-ups 

Monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels, especially if you have a family history of cardiovascular conditions. 

Maintain a healthy weight 

Develop eating patterns which include a healthy, varied diet and portion control. Speak to a health professional if you need help managing your weight. 

Move your body 

Physical exercise gets your heart pumping and makes it stronger. Try to get 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days a week. 

Limit alcohol intake 

Excessive alcohol consumption over time can result in brain damage that produces symptoms of dementia. If you drink alcohol, stick to the recommended Australian guidelines of no more than two standard drinks on any one day, and at least two alcohol-free days per week. 

Stop smoking 

There are many resources to help you quit, including nicotine replacement therapies, gums, patches or sprays. Get started by speaking with your doctor. 

Share or print
Last updated
18 December 2023