While the search for a cure for Alzheimer's disease continues, the focus remains on prevention. Last week, at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Boston, new preventative measures were discussed.
Alzheimer's at a Glance
Alzheimer's disease is one type of dementia that specifically affects the memory as well as thinking and behavior. It typically impacts those age 65 and older and is condition that worsens over time. There is no current cure for Alzheimer's disease.
The impact of Alzheimer's in the this country is immense. According to the Alzheimer's Association, today, more than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, which is the sixth leading cause of death in this country. That means one person develops the disease every 68 seconds. That frequency is expected to reach one person every 33 seconds in the year 2050. This disease, or another form of dementia, will claim the life of one in every three seniors.
As for the financial toll this disease takes, the estimated cost of treating Alzheimer's in the United States is expected to reach $203 billion this year. In 2012, an estimated 15.4 million people working as unpaid caregivers spent $216 billion treating friends or family members with this disease.
While some people are genetically predisposed to developing Alzheimer's (some with a specific gene mutation), there are steps that can be taken throughout life to protect the mind for the future. Here are some of the factors discussed by experts at the conference:
Get educated/continue your education.
Strong education from childhood is important, but also continuing to test and strengthen the brain throughout age can prevent or slow degeneration. Try learning a new language or solving puzzles. experts also pointed out working supports a healthy mind. They cited a French study in which individuals who retired at age 65 were 15 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's than those who retired just five years prior.
Manage all aspects of your health.
Getting cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels in check are a part of a healthy lifestyle overall and can lower your risk. A healthy heart impacts the entire body!
Maintain a healthy weight.
Obesity not increases your risk for heart disease and diabetes, but also for Alzheimer's. Being within the appropriate weight range for your height is critical. Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly will get you there safely and naturally.
Keep stress under control.
Stress raises blood pressure and can lead to weight gain, but it's also unhealthy for the brain. Try a calming activity, like yoga, reading or painting to reduce stress. Even listening to some of your favorite music can help you dial it back.
Get enough sleep.
Set a bedtime and stick to it to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Avoid stimulants, like caffeine, after 3 p.m. to prevent problems falling asleep. If you still can't seem to get enough ZZZZ's, speak with your doctor.
Ditch your vices.
Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption and can both increase your risk for developing Alzheimer's. Throw out the cigarettes and keep alcohol consumption to a minimum for your overall health.
As always, keeping track symptoms as well as your lifestyle behaviors can better help you and your doctor determine the best plan of action if you're at risk for developing Alzheimer's.
While no supplement or medication has been proven to be a cure for Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, there are certain supplements that provide nutritional support for a healthy mind that are worth looking into further. These include:
These supplements support proper nerve function and communication within the brain. They may be able to strengthen your memory to help you hold onto and recall vital information. As with all supplements, it's crucial to speak with your doctor before adding any of the mentioned products to your routine, especially if you're currently being treated for a medical condition, or are considered to be at high risk for developing Alzheimer's.
Look for these supplements and more at eVitamins and stay tuned for all the latest health news. Have a great week!