In recent headlines, discussions circulated around the current lack of Alzheimer’s treatment options. With no proven way to prevent or cure this disease, it is tough not to feel discouraged.
Although there are no proven treatment or therapy options that can prevent Alzheimer’s, there is a silver lining. As stated by researchers from the Minnesota Evidence-Based Practice Center, the best evidence indicates that healthy living is your best possible defense.
This means that if you eat a balanced diet; exercise regularly; target health issues, such as hypertension or prediabetes; and remain socially active, you will naturally protect yourself against neurodegeneration.
Of course, this is good news. However, would it not be more beneficial if you knew whether or not you were showing preclinical signs early in life? Perhaps this would provide you with the motivation you need to kick-start some new, healthier habits.
A New Year, A New Perspective
With 2017 coming to a rapid close, it is important that you consider resolutions that will significantly impact your future. Although health is often a key area of interest, sadly, approximately 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.
Whether you often become bored or lack motivation, if a doctor noticed signs of ‘preclinical’ Alzheimer’s, would you take action?
According to new research, it may be possible to identify those who display an increased risk of this disease, allowing for earlier invention. Referred to as ‘biomarkers,’ these warning signs have been extensively studied in recent years. During this process, researchers have also discovered how widespread these warning signs truly are.
As stated in this new study, nearly 47 million people in the United States over the age of 30 are estimated to have signs of preclinical Alzheimer’s. This means that there are detectable changes that are known to eventually lead to the development of Alzheimer’s.
Based on this new research and population data, this would indicate that around 25 percent of those over 30 may currently be at-risk for future Alzheimer’s. As researchers continue to study these biomarkers, they hope that they will be able to treat them, much like cholesterol levels.
Early Intervention Is Imperative
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
It is now widely believed that Alzheimer’s begins to develop 20 to 30 years before there are any noticeable signs or symptoms. More importantly, there is potential evidence that approximately one-third of global Alzheimer’s cases are attributed to modifiable risk factors.
Until an Alzheimer’s cure is discovered, prevention may be the best course of action. When younger individuals focus on risk factor modification, they may be able to stabilize cognitive function for years to come. Although nothing is guaranteed, by making key lifestyle changes, you could also reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Instead of reacting to warning signs, be mindful of your daily routine long before your 50th birthday. Ask yourself, how can I improve my health today, so that I reduce my risk of disease tomorrow?
As outlined by the Alzheimer’s Association, here are some tips to help you potentially intervene long before Alzheimer’s symptoms arise:
Regularly exercise — You will want to elevate your heart rate. This will essentially increase blood flow to your brain and body The link between exercise and dementia has been documented throughout the research. In addition, when you maintain a healthy bodyweight, this will reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke — both which negatively impact neural health.
Regardless of your age, never stop learning. Formal education at any stage of life has been shown to reduce your risk of dementia. If you have some extra time on your hands, sign up to attend a local college course or sign-up for a class online.
Quit smoking. When you do, you can reduce your risk to levels that are comparable with those who have not smoked.
Consume a balanced, whole food diet. Based on the current research, the Mediterranean diet may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s later in life.
Address your mental health! If you are suffering from symptoms of anxiety or depression, it is important to seek assistance. As you learn to cope and better manage stress, this can help you decrease your risk of cognitive decline. Also, be sure to get enough quality sleep!
Remain socially active and challenge your mind. Volunteer at a local shelter, do something artistic, or join a local choir — basically, get involved and activate your mind.
What resolutions will you make this upcoming New Year’s? Have you considered a proactive plan to protect your neural health? If so, you will not want to miss this Q&A published by CBS.