Alzheimer's... Can It Be Prevented?
There are over 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. And every day 227 familes lose a loved one to this horrible disease.
Regardless of race, social or financial status, no one is immune to its devastation.
The statistics are staggering:
- Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the US.
- It kills more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.
- One in three seniors dies from the complications of Alzheimer’s.
- Since 2000, deaths from Alzheimer’s disease has increased by 89%.
As sad as it is for the patient, who doesn’t grieve over what he or she can’t remember, the real loss is usually carried by the family as they watch the loved one slowly become a hollow shell.
In 2011, Glenn Campbell announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and would do a final tour – “I’ll Be Me”. Each time he took the stage we saw this super talented man struggle to remember words to songs that he had written and sung thousands of times. We wanted to jump in and help him, but that wasn’t possible… there was absolutely nothing anyone could do.
Over one-third of Caregivers share that their own health has gotten worse due to the stress. Glenn’s wife, Kim, said that she had no idea the amount of constant care that he would need, and her stress level finally reached a point where she could no longer care for him by herself.
Alzheimer’s is a death sentence. And at the present time, there is no cure on the horizon.
So what’s the answer? If we can’t cure it… can we prevent getting it in the first place?
Researchers at Cambridge University estimate that roughly one-third of Alzheimer’s patients could have prevented their disease.
The consensus is that making modest changes in our daily habits could reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s at all.
The study found that individuals who smoked, had diabetes, didn’t have regular physical activity, were depressed, and suffered from hypertension, were much more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than others.
Just those few things made a difference!
But, it makes perfect sense because many of them overlap…
- Lack of physical exercise leads to obesity, depression, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes
- Chronic inflammation leads to depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.
- Smokers are likely to develop hypertension which leads them to avoid physical exercise.
So, if you want to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, here are a few suggestions:
- Improve your diet. Studies shows that the Mediterranean diet is by far the best… with it’s emphasis on olive oil, nuts, and red wine.
- Get off and the couch and get moving. Brisk walking for 30 minutes, 3-5 times a week is one of the best exercises you can do.
- Quit smoking… quit smoking…. QUIT SMOKING!
- Get enough sleep. Six to eight hours of sleep is recommended for good brain function… critical to forming and consolidating memory.
- Depression and anxiety are common as we get older. Have your vitamin D levels checked. Get some fresh air and sunlight every day. Several essential oils have been shown to help with different symptoms of Alzheimers.
6. Depression and anxiety are common as we get older. Have your vitamin D levels checked. Get some fresh air and sunlight every day. Several essential oils have been shown to help with different symptoms of Alzheimers. Find a sense of purpose… help others, be a volunteer, and stay connected with friends and family.
Improve your memory… this doesn’t mean crossword puzzles or Sudoku, although those certainly don’t hurt. Become a “student” for life. Studies show that those who enjoy learning new skills tend to remain mentally sharp right up till they die.
I’ve made a commitment to myself and my family, I’m going to do everything in my power to prevent going down this devastating path. Please join me.
I doubt that there are any of us that doesn’t have or have had a loved one who’s been lost to this horrible disease. Please comment if you want to share your thoughts and offer encouragement.