Can Alzheimer’s Be Prevented?

Alzheimer’s disease is not known to be preventable, based on the science available at this time. In the article “Alzheimer’s Disease: Whose Fault Is It?” by Dr. G. Allen Power, MD, he explains how just the definition of Alzheimer’s has changed over the years and how this is one aspect of looking at the causes.

It’s important to note that Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia with its symptoms and progression slightly different from others like, aphasia or Lewy Body.

How to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Medical experts do agree that some lifestyle choices can potentially play a role in reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the following changes might factor into whether or not someone develops Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a healthy diet, specifically a Mediterranean diet that includes vegetables and omega-3 fatty acid protein
  • Maintain a healthy weight for your height
  • Limit alcohol in your diet
  • Keep your mind and body active
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Keep stress under control

Consult your doctor if there are concerns about any symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Is Alzheimer’s Hereditary?

The good news is that less than five percent of Alzheimer’s disease cases are the result of the genetic mutation known to cause Alzheimer’s disease. The answer to whether or not Alzheimer’s disease is hereditary is a complex yes and no. In other words, it can be but it is not always the result of genetics.

There are two different gene types have been identified when Alzheimer’s disease is hereditary.

The Alzheimer’s Association states that researchers have determined that 40-65% of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have the APOE-e4 gene. People who inherit this gene from both their mother and their father are at an increased risk to develop Alzheimer’s and likely at a younger age.

More rare is a deterministic gene, which so far is known to have affected only “a few hundred” families around the world and it strikes as young as the 40s.

Learning about these genes help scientists uncover truths about Alzheimer’s and its effect on the brain.

What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease

Over the years there has been a lot of speculation about what might cause Alzheimer’s disease. Below we have addressed some of the most common questions peopleask, can Alzheimer’s be prevented? For those with the genetic markers, it’s unlikely that lifestyle changes will reverse the possibility of getting the disease.

Does aluminum cause Alzheimer’s?

The answer to this question is that it depends on who you ask. There have been various studies showing a link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s with some experts concluding there is a risk and others saying the research is not definitive.

For example, one study found that people using certain antiperspirants and antacids that contain aluminum were at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Yet others countered this pointing out that the naturally occurring element does not transfer to people when using cooking utensils or get absorbed into the food.

Does alcohol cause Alzheimer’s?

Research has not found a direct cause between alcohol use and Alzheimer’s disease specifically, but there are known connections between excessive alcohol drinking and dementia. The National Institutes of Health has noted that heavy alcohol use can have the same effects on the brain as Alzheimer’s disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has guidelines about what constitutes excessive drinking and what the short and long-term health implications are. Among the many long-term problems that can arise from heavy drinking are heart disease, high blood pressure, and memory problems. Doctors do associate poor heart health with an increased risk for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Does sugar cause Alzheimer’s?

Put down the cookies and sodas. Research shows a link between sugar and Alzheimer’s disease, but not the naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and vegetables; the culprits are processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup. The scientific evidence is not strong enough to ban sugar completely, just enough to suggest less sugar could be a good thing if there are concerns about developing dementia.

Can stress cause Alzheimer’s?

Unlike alcohol and sugar, stress is not quantifiable and therefore is not easily measured for its impact on the brain. In addition, dementia can start years before some of the more apparent symptoms appear as mild cognitive impairment.

Stress can have many negative impacts on the body, including detrimental effects on neural pathways. The reasons for stress are many, and it can be prolonged not just temporary. It is recommended that people find ways to decrease their stress in life with daily habits like taking a walk, talking to others about troubles, getting a break from stressful activities, and more.

Review this checklist to see if you are stressed and then take steps to reduce these feelings.

Does smoking cause Alzheimer’s disease?

The American Heart Association states that “current smokers are 30% more likely to develop dementia and 40% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.” Those percentages increase with the amount of smoking too.

If there is any good news here it is that quitting smoking has the potential to erase the brain harm, according to the AHA.

Does aspartame cause Alzheimer’s?

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener known under several brand names, and it was approved for use by the Federal Drug Administration in the 1990s. At this time, the scientific evidence is not solid enough to show a causal link to this disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

While age does not cause Alzheimer’s disease, advanced age is considered one of the risk factors for developing this or other dementias as it is most commonly. As with other diseases and chronic conditions, it is recommended that people eat a healthy diet, maintain their weight with regular exercise, keep alcohol and sugar consumption at moderate levels, and reduce stress.

The Alzheimer’s Association provides a list of what they call “myths” about this disease on their website for those who are curious if flu shots, dental fillings, and other factors might contribute to risk for Alzheimer’s.

Contact your doctor to discuss concerns about Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.

Learn more about HomeWatch CareGivers’s dementia care services today.

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