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Expert Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease: Prevention and More

In recent years, Alzheimer’s disease has become a significant public health concern. The number of people with the illness increases rapidly as life expectancy increases and medical advancements allow more people to live longer lives. To keep your brain healthy, there are certain ways that you can decrease the chances and the impacts that Alzheimer’s disease will have on your body and mind.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

what is Alzheimer's disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It causes cognitive decline that eventually leads to an inability to carry out even daily tasks. Alzheimer’s limits the brain’s ability to keep memories, learn new things, and make decisions.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive, irreversible condition that worsens over time with no known cure as of yet. However, scientists do believe there are ways are slowing the progression of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

What Causes Alzheimer’s?

No one knows what causes it explicitly (though some factors are implicated), but there are many risk factors. Some of the most predominant factors appear to include age, family history, and genetics.

Other risk factors are head injuries in younger years, exposure to pesticides or other toxic substances like solvents and metals, lifestyle habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol excessively, and not exercising enough.

Chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes without enough control also increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s later on in life.

Genetics and Alzheimer’s

genes and Alzheimer's disease

Genetics plays one of the most significant roles in determining who will develop Alzheimer’s disease.

There exist two types of risks that lead to Alzheimer’s: (1) risk genes and (2) deterministic genes. Studies have shown that there are hereditary Alzheimer’s disease genes in both categories.

Risk genes:

Risk genes are genes that cause a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s but do not guarantee it. When these genes are combined with other factors, they can increase the chances of developing this devastating disease.

One of the risk genes that is strongly linked to Alzheimer’s is called APOE-e4 has been found to have a substantial impact on a person’s risk for getting Alzheimer’s. About 40% to 65% of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s also have the APOE-e4 gene.

Deterministic Genes:

Deterministic genes have been linked to an inheritable pattern of Alzheimer’s and pass on a 100% risk of developing the illness.

Deterministic genes in Alzheimer’s are far less common and occur in less than 1% of cases. If you do happen to have deterministic genes, there are ways that you can prepare yourself to limit the effects on your body and to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease from occurring in your younger years.

This is why you must get a genetic test done if you think you may be at risk or have family members who have had Alzheimer’s.

What can you do to prevent or limit the impacts of Alzheimer’s?

Many things can be done in terms of Alzheimer’s prevention. One of the most important things is taking care of yourself and focusing on living a healthy lifestyle to promote cognitive health. Here are some of the best ways to limit and prevent your cognitive decline and protect yourself from the effects of Alzheimer’s.

Does education help with Alzheimer’s prevention?

One correlation that studies have shown impacts the effects and likeliness of Alzheimer’s is the level and amount of education. The possibility of building up a cognitive reserve that protects against future decline could explain evidence suggesting that even with limited schooling, a robust social network and mental stimulation from puzzles might help the brain in some situations remain healthy.

Advancements in education in conjunction with improvements in health care and living conditions may explain whether the rates of dementia have been falling globally or regionally in the past two decades.

How can cognitive training help with Alzheimer’s?

Similar to education, cognitive training, which is brain exercises that are designed to improve cognitive abilities, are shown to lower the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies have shown that people who participate in these types of brain exercises can experience improved performance on tests for memory, attention span, and executive functions. Although there is no evidence at the moment to suggest that this type of training will prevent or delay Alzheimer’s disease, it can help with rehabilitation after someone has been diagnosed.

However, more research needs to be done before knowing how effective this type of treatment is in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

What is the link between vascular health and Alzheimer’s?

Managing a patient’s cardiovascular health is essential as a protective factor to your brain and reducing your risk of dementia.

Some vascular risk factors include high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes that are all commonly related to lifestyle choices.

Research has shown that individuals with vascular health issues are more likely to develop conditions such as Parkinson’s, A.L.S., and even more commonly found in Alzheimer’s cases.

This stems from a lack of blood flow to the brain, which can cause the brain to degenerate and shrink, which leads to many neurological illnesses.

How does managing your stress lower Alzheimers risk factors?

Managing your stress can help you prevent Alzheimer’s disease for several reasons. Stress can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by altering hormone levels and disrupting sleep.

Stress also leads to high blood pressure, increases the risk of heart disease, and can make you more vulnerable to depression. These all have correlations to increased chances and symptoms of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

High blood pressure can lead to a stroke, one of the most common causes of death in people with Alzheimer’s disease. So it would help if you manage your stress.

The way you live your life, such as what kinds of substances or stressors you consume regularly, can affect whether or not you develop this disease.

What you can eat to lower alzheimer’s risk factors

What we eat impacts our bodies in countless ways and can lead to either increasing or decreasing the chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

One way that diet impacts Alzheimer’s is from inflammation and oxidative stresses on the brain. High levels of either of these things promote plaques and tangles that damage brain cells in people with Alzheimer’s.

A new study suggests that diet might affect the biological mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease.

In this small randomized trial of 53 people with mild cognitive impairment, those who followed a Mediterranean-style diet saw improvements to their symptoms compared with those on a typical American high-fat and a low plant-based diet.

Researchers have also found evidence of epigenetic changes associated with improved memory and enhanced activity in neurobiological pathways from the Mediterranean calorie contrast regimen. This suggests what they ate helped prevent aggravation of neuron health over time.

Other research has focused on how metabolism works differently when participants adhere to specific diets such as ketogenic or vegan diets for long periods.

One of the best diets for dementia prevention is the Mediterranean diet. Eating Mediterranean food significantly decreases the risk of cognitive loss and Alzheimer’s.

Get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel seaweed, and sardine.

Also, make sure to add olive oil to your diet, which is one of the staple ingredients in the Mediterranean diet.

Benefits of excersize

Daily physical exercise for 30 minutes or more can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease by reducing stress and depression.

Exercise has also shown promise as a strategy to improve brain health. In a meta-analysis of 15 studies of more than 23,000 men without dementia, physical activity strongly offered protection against cognitive decline.

Exercise has been shown to improve memory, attention span, reasoning ability, and other mental abilities. Exercise releases endorphins which promote a feeling of happiness while boosting the immune system.

Another study published in Neurology found that people who exercised for at least four years were about 40% less likely to develop dementia than those who did not exercise regularly over this period.

Exercise can slow the decline of brains and body parts as they grow cognitive problems such as cognitive disabilities in others by improving memory and learning capacities.

Correlation between quality sleep and Alzheimer’s

There are lots of linkages between poor sleeping habits and the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Research shows that people who sleep 6 hours or less in the mid-age years are at higher risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Sleep is so important because it helps clears the brain of amyloid-beta, which is a protein fragment in the brain. Sleep also refreshes and reorganizes memories, essential for Alzheimer’s because people with this disease may experience memory loss or confusion.

The National Academy of Sciences recommends adults have seven to eight hours of sleep each night, so try going to bed early or cutting back on caffeine during the day.

If you are looking for the best ways to improve your sleep, here is an article that may help you reach 7-8 hours per night: 9 Steps to Quality Sleep.

Coping with a diagnosis

If you have been diagnosed, there are many ways to cope and take care of yourself.

The first step is realizing that many people go through cognitive impairment during their life even if they don’t develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

You may also want to find an expert specializing in easing anxiety caused by these conditions, so make sure to research them thoroughly before choosing one.

Talking to other individuals going through a similar situation may also help you adjust to Alzheimer’s disease.

If you’re looking for more support from others who’ve had similar experiences, see

There are organizations that you can join, such as the Alzheimer’s Association, that can help provide assistance, aid, and information to anyone impacted by Alzheimer’s.

Here are some great articles to assist you on this journey:

Managing

What’s the bottom line on Alzheimer’s prevention?

While some individuals will inevitably get Alzheimer’s disease, there are many ways to reduce the symptoms and decrease the risk of developing it.

Leading a healthy lifestyle by consuming a Mediterranean diet, exercising regularly, getting quality sleep, drinking less alcohol, and managing stress can help keep your brain healthy.

F.A.Q.:

Does drinking alcohol increase my risk of Alzheimer’s?

Alcohol can increase one’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease. At maximum, you should aim to drink 12 units per week. If you drink 14 of them per day, try spreading them over more than three days. Alcoholic drinks can cause brain damage if consumed.

How does high blood pressure relate to Alzheimer’s?

High blood pressure is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. The reason for this is that high blood pressure can cause the brain to swell.

What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

Dementia is a generic term for many different conditions that cause loss of memory. Alzheimer’s disease is one type of dementia, and it causes a significant decline in cognitive function over time, which can be seen as early as 50 years old.

What are some of the symptoms that might indicate I have Alzheimer’s?

One symptom may be forgetting things or not remembering what one has just done, such as making dinner for the family and then going outside afterward. Another condition could manifest through mood changes and difficulty with day-to-day tasks, such as not finding the kitchen.

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