For anyone that has watched a loved one battle Alzheimer’s in Meridian ID, the question as to whether or not it can be prevented has surely come to mind. I remember visiting my grandma as an awkward teenager and watching her deteriorate.
How do you have a conversation with someone that doesn’t remember your name and large parts of your existence? It was painful and I decided I will do everything in my power to prevent my grandkids or great-grandkids from having to experience the same thing. I want to help you do the same.
First, yes I do believe Alzheimer’s can be prevented for the overwhelming majority of individuals. The key is to start early and not wait. If you wait till there are significant symptoms then only slowing is really possible.
If you are looking for the magic bullet, please stop reading at this time as you will only find disappointment.
Before I go into how to prevent dementia, there is a question I am routinely asked. Is Alzheimer’s the same as dementia?
I want you to think about a Honda Civic. All Civics are Hondas but not all Hondas are Civics. Honda is the overarching classification and Civic is a type. Dementia is like Honda as it is the overarching classification and Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.
ALZHEIMER’S IS A MAJOR PROBLEM IN MERIDIAN ID
Research suggests that 47 millions Americans have preclinical Alzheimer’s and globally 22% of all individuals over the age of 50 are on the Alzheimer’s Disease continuum (1,2).
You may be wondering what preclinical Alzheimer’s is? It is when there are findings of amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s, or neurodegeneration but there are no symptoms present. The process that ultimately creates disease may take 20-30 years before symptoms start. This leaves a great window of opportunity to act and to change your future.
Disclaimer, not everyone with preclinical Alzheimer’s will get the disease.
Sweet, since not everyone will end up with Alzheimer’s you naturally wonder what are risk factors.
ALZHEIMER’S RISK FACTORS
Disclaimer, this is only a brief list of risk factors but are some that I consider
significant. If these are off, especially the first four then don’t wait any
longer to act.
- Diabetes is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s. In the research Alzheimer’s is often referred to as type 3 diabetes due what elevated blood sugar and impaired insulin signaling does to the brain. The better you can keep your fasting and post-meal blood sugar the better off you will be. Being in the 80-90 range places you in a good spot.
- Exercise is one of the best things for our overall health and despite the desire to find something to replace it, there isn’t. Exercise helps with inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and drives connections in our brain. Even short bursts of exercise is much better than none.
- Sleep, treasure it with your life. We are the only creatures that voluntarily give up our sleep and we pay for it. During our sleep is when the garbage man shows up to take out the trash from our brain. Disrupted sleep can be voluntary but can also be from sleep apnea. If we don’t get good sleep than this doesn’t happen and our brain gets inflamed and ultimately shrinks.
- Cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes are a bad combination. When 2 of the 3 are present the risk for any dementia including Alzheimer’s is significantly increased.
- APOE4 gene, this is the gene most commonly associated with Alzheimer’s from a genetic perspective. There are two type a APOE 3/4 and APOE 4/4. While this does increase the risk, the risk can be reduced if you control the 4 things above. I don’t want you to feel that you are doomed to get Alzheimer’s because of the gene, because that is a misunderstanding.
TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR FUTURE
As I stated above, I strongly believe that for most getting dementia is a choice from our actions. The key is to start early. Don’t wait till you are in your 60’s or 70’s to start doing something because it may be too late. This is a process that starts 20-30 years before a diagnosis is given.
I have listed out 5 risk factors but that list could easily be 20. I understand how it can be overwhelming to try and do this all on your own, but you aren’t alone.
Preventing this devastating disease requires a comprehensive approach: brain, mind, and body.
Start the process when you feel good, because I believe that is the difference between those who stay in the preclinical state and those who progress.
If you’d like our help then contact our team today to get started, you control your future.
- Brookmeyer, R., Abdalla, N., Kawas, C. H., & Corrada, M. M. (2018). Forecasting the prevalence of preclinical and clinical Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. Alzheimer’s & dementia : the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, 14(2), 121–129. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2017.10.009
- Gustavsson, A., Norton, N., Fast, T., Frölich, L., Georges, J., Holzapfel, D., Kirabali, T., Krolak-Salmon, P., Rossini, P. M., Ferretti, M. T., Lanman, L., Chadha, A. S., & van der Flier, W. M. (2023). Global estimates on the number of persons across the Alzheimer’s disease continuum. Alzheimer’s & dementia : the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, 19(2), 658–670. https://doi.org/10.1002/alz.12694