No, there isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s yet. It just keeps on trucking and taking its terrible toll. In fact, the reality, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, is downright scary:
- It is the only cause of death in the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed.
- Almost 2/3 of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.
- One of every three seniors in America dies with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia.
- Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
- More than 90% of people with the four leading types of cancer have been told of their diagnosis, BUT only 45% of people with Alzheimer’s have been told of their diagnosis.
- The cost of treating Alzheimer’s this year will be $226 BILLION in this country.
- Every 67 SECONDS someone in the U.S. dies of Alzheimer’s Disease.
- More than 5 million people in the U.S. currently suffer from Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia.
If there is no cure in the immediate future, how can we at least reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and what are the factors that contribute to that risk? The Alzheimer’s Association indicates that advanced age, genetics, and family history each contribute to the risk of Alzheimer’s, but a new study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found the following additional risk factors compiled from 323 previous studies:
- Carotid artery stenosis
- Low educational level
- High levels of homocysteine (a compound that builds up, in part when B vitamin levels are low)
- High (or low) blood pressure
- Current smoking (in the Asian population)
- Type 2 Diabetes (in the Asian population)
What can we do to reduce those risks:
Maintain a healthy weight with regular exercise and a healthy diet (with emphasis on Folate, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E.
- Stay cognitively active – read, play games, engaged in social interaction.
- Seek medical help for prolonged depression, including medication if necessary (exercise is often as effective as medication for the treatment of some depression).
- Light to moderate alcoholic consumption.
- Eat more fish.
- Drink coffee
- Maintain normal blood pressure.
- Reduce or eliminate smoking altogether (among Asians, in particular).
- Control diabetes (among Asians, in particular).
All of these reduction measures involve personal lifestyle choices. So, while there is not a cure for Alzheimer’s, we may have some control over the risk of developing the disease in the first place by making better choices now.