Alzheimer’s is a common form of dementia and is the term used in general for memory loss serious enough to interfere with our daily life. So what causes Alzheimer’s and how do we prevent it? As you read on, you’ll be able to understand and know what is known about Alzheimer’s and what can protect yourself from it
What we know so far
Alzheimer’s disease or AD is common in the U.S. and it has currently affected over 5 million people. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that the U.S. prevalence will exceed 16 million by the year 2050 unless a treatment is developed. The leading risk factor for being diagnosed with AD is still age. Those 65 and older are most at risk.
However, Alzheimer’s isn’t just a disease of the elderly. Approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 have been diagnosed with AD this is also known as early-onset Alzheimer’s. Other risk factors include female sex, positive family history of AD, and presence of the apolipoprotein E ε4 allele.
There are potential modifiable risk factors that should be targeted and prevented.
These are diabetes mellitus and insulin resistance, obesity, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, cerebrovascular disease, depression, psychological and physiologic stress, traumatic brain injury, sleep-disordered breathing, smoking, alcohol abuse, high blood pressure, renal disease, alcohol and tobacco use, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, sedentary life style, and diet. All of the listed are modifiable because we can prevent them from happening to our bodies or us. These are risk factors that account for more than 50% of Alzheimer’s risk.
How to protect ourselves against Alzheimer’s
Consume more Fruits and Vegetables
A study was conducted on older Japanese-Americans and found that consuming fruits and vegetable juices decreased incidence of Alzheimer’s over seven to nine years of study on the patients.
Increase omega-3 fatty acids, e.g. eat fish and nuts.
Eating fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna or walnuts that have high omega-3 fatty acids these acids also help decrease the risk of having Alzheimer’s. In the Framingham study, individuals who have consumed these measured at baseline had lower rates of Alzheimer’s.
Like most treatments exercising is the best treatment for almost every illness. You’ll only need to exercise for 30 minutes a day to keep yourself healthy. This raises your heart rate and improves focus and muscle tone. Regular physical exercise for middle aged or elderly adults reduces the risks of developing dementia.
Exercise your brain
Aside from keeping your body active and in shape, you must also exercise your brain by reading, doing puzzles, crosswords, playing cards or learning something new. As long as you can keep your brain active and you’ll likely reduce your risk of AD even more.
Depending on the type of exercise and intensity, physical activity is the best in lowering the risk of AD up to 65%. So long as we keep up a healthy diet, have fun and have a great social life. You’ll be less likely to have AD because you’re mind and body are in good shape.