Risk Factors and How to Reduce Your Risk
With populations living longer than ever before, there is a greater concern among those aging as to whether they will develop dementia, such as Alzheimer’s. The latest research done gives information on dementia risk factors, with a view to people reducing their risk if they can. Here are a few of the risk factors we know so far:
The older you get, the more likely you are to develop dementia. But it is important to note that not all dementia is Alzheimer’s. One in nine people over 65 and one in three people over 85 have Alzheimer’s.
Anyone with a parent, brother or sister with Alzheimer’s is more likely to develop the disease. Scientists are not sure if this is due to genetics, environment, or both. Genetic tests are available for both APOE e4 & the rare genes that directly cause Alzheimer’s. Those with the APOE e4 gene do tend to develop dementia at a much younger age. Doctors are starting to see dementia and Alzheimer’s in patients in their late 40s + early 50s.
Latinos are 1.5 times more likely and blacks two times more likely to develop dementia as compared with whites. This is believed to be because they often have poorer cardiovascular health and unhealthy eating habits (consuming lots of carbohydrates and fried foods).
Sugar has been referred to as “white death” in relation to what it does to the human body & brain. A diet that’s low in carbohydrates seems to be protective.
Aluminum Is NOT a Cause
Aluminum was once blamed for Alzheimer’s, through antacids, soda cans and so on supposedly leeching aluminum into our foods. Fast forward to the present day, and no study has ever confirmed this.
Diabetes is commonly linked with Alzheimer’s. In fact, Alzheimer’s is being called Type 4 diabetes by some. Diabetes does pose a significant health challenge in terms of heart & brain health. Tight glucose control can decrease one’s risk of developing diabetic complications or worsening heart health and dementia.
There is a growing body of evidence that there may be a strong link between serious head injury and future risk of Alzheimer’s, especially when trauma occurs repeatedly or involves a loss of consciousness. It’s easy to stay safe. Don’t engage in contact sports. Always wear a seat-belt in the car. Check your home to make sure there are no danger spots for slips, trips, and falls. Learn more about concussion and traumatic brain injury (TBI) and how to avoid them.
The Heart and Brain Connection
Cardiovascular health is strongly linked to brain health. As we age, we often develop high blood pressure, which has been linked to heart attack and stroke. Narrowing of blood vessels can diminish essential oxygen supplies to certain parts of the brain, causing them to function at less than their best. Eat a heart-healthy diet and exercise regularly.
Exercise has also shown to be protective against dementia. Studies indicate that in people with Alzheimer’s, exercise has been known to reduce symptoms.
It is bad for the heart, brain, and the entire body. If you smoke, it’s time to quit.
Alcohol is known to damage brain cells. It also has a great deal of sugar in it, which is harmful to the brain. You can’t always avoid getting dementia, but being aware of these factors can help reduce the risk.
Need More Help Than Usual With Daily Errands For Yourself/Parent or Grandparent??
If you’re overwhelmed by other family and work obligations, you may be unable to properly care for your aging parent or grandparent. Maybe you have no time to drive them where they want to go or where they need to go. Well, we’re here to help!
Let us at YHTC help with daily errands like taking your loved one out to run errands. Our caregivers can also engage with them in social activities. This will help add self-satisfaction and reassure them of their independence, all while bringing joy to their everyday life. Click here to get in touch with us today and speak to one of our RN’s about our In-Home Services.