Almost all of us are at risk of getting Alzheimer’s, a disease for which no meaningful pharmaceutical treatment exists. Strong research evidence on the relationship between Alzheimer’s risk and modifiable lifestyle choices, like physical inactivity and smoking, have been well described for many years. Nonetheless, efforts to provide this information with the hope of people making better lifestyle choices haven’t been effective, as the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease continues to increase.
An American Medical Association titled: Risk Factors Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias by Sex and Race and Ethnicity in the US provide insight into the fact that we can in fact do something about preventing cognitive decline.
The fascinating study looked at close to 400,000 individuals and evaluated various risk factors related to the presence of Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. These are the risk factors identified in the study:
The adult population in this study was equally balanced regarding gender. Approximately one in three cases of Alzheimer’s disease or related Dementia (37%) were associated with at least one of the eight modifiable risk factors described above.
Interestingly, the most powerful risk factor related to the development of Alzheimer’s or related Dementia was midlife obesity, followed by physical inactivity and low educational attainment.
The relationship between the risk factors was higher in men, 35.9%, than in women, 30.1%, and higher in black individuals at 40% compared to white participants (29%.)
Let’s take a closer look at the various risk factors-which were explored.
Smoking on the list is not surprising, as it strongly correlates to many other research studies. And we know that the toxicity of the lungs, throat, nose, and ear is in proximity to the brain.
Physical activity has surely been discussed enough as a potent tool to help stave off Alzheimer’s disease.
We can’t consider depression to necessarily be a lifestyle “choice”. Nonetheless, we do know that lifestyle factors can be modified to reduce the likelihood of depression.
Low educational status is very interesting as many people don’t view their educational endeavors as a protector against brain ills, but it plays a critical role. The personal pursuit of education remains a tool that can be used from early childhood.
Both midlife obesity and midlife hypertension are very important because we typically don’t associate Alzheimer’s disease with the midlife age group. We generally think of Alzheimer’s as a disease of the elderly, with a misconception that Dementia is a natural progression of aging. And what we learn from this study, once more, is that obesity and hypertension during our midlife years set the stage for future Alzheimer’s development. The message is that even if you are cognitively healthy in midlife, being overweight and hypertensive may have critical long-term cognitive implications.
Type -2 Diabetes, is normally taken very lightly. We seem to think it’s just a condition to live with when we know well that if untreated has massive repercussions of losing your sight, your leg, and now as this research points out, your mind too. With many people living with a pre-diabetic status, this should also be of great concern, as it is a known fact that it is simple to reverse this condition.
Finally, hearing loss was equally identified as significantly related to Alzheimer’s risk.
However, hearing loss is easily modified with hearing assistive devices.
You may have considered making some changes related to any of these lifestyle conditions but you probably haven’t ever thought about them as therapeutic techniques to prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia. For a medical condition that has no meaningful treatment, we still, have control over preventing it. All it
takes is us making the effort to change these lifestyle conditions, You will find all the help and support you need from places like the Inheritance Academy and the One2onediet.
It’s possible to achieve healthy BMI, normal hypertension, and diabetes remission. For
details on education and support, look at one of the upcoming workshops at Inheritance
066 334 7529 or 011 268 6074