The following is copied from an article by Coach Dan Garner and like Dan this topic is close to me with my mother in law passing away from this disease and my younger brother having been diagnosed at only 58 with Alzheimers.
You can follow Dan at www.coachgarner.com
Many scientific surveys have demonstrated that there is something that most people fear even more than death.
It is… Alzheimer’s disease.
For most of us, losing our “self” — those characteristics which make us who we are is a fate worse than death. This is something very personal to me as my grandmother who was an amazing woman slowly went through this in a slow and sad way for several years up to her dying day. It’s something that’s very painful to see and hear when someone you know isn’t themselves anymore.
Please take heed today and absorb some of the things I am talking about so you can help yourself, your friends, and your family members.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Named after Alois Alzheimer, who discovered the condition in 1906, Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects the function of the brain by causing the brain cells to degenerate and then die. There is no cure, and the progression of the disease leads to eventual death. The first symptoms of the disease usually show up as forgetfulness, but as it worsens, more long-term memory loss occurs, along with other symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, and inability to recognize languages or even loved ones.
How Prevalent is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s affects 5.3 million Americans, and it is predicted that by 2050, 1 in 8 Americans will be stricken with it. The Medicare system spends three times as much money on Alzheimer’s treatment as it does on any other disease.
Is Alzheimer’s Inevitable?
The good news is there is much you can do to reduce the chances that you will develop this disease. Because of the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in North America, many people view it as a normal and inevitable part of the aging process. But this is not so. Alzheimer’s is a disease, and you do not have to get sick with this disease.
In fact, in spite of it being so common in America, there are societies in which dementia and Alzheimer’s is rare, even for people in their 90’s and beyond. The elders in these cultures maintain clear thinking without the burden of dementia that we have come to associate with aging.
The following are some steps you can take right now to protect yourself from getting Alzheimer’s.
1. Get Plenty of Physical Exercise
In his book, Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples, John Robbins cites study after study that demonstrate the stunning effect of exercise on the brain’s ability to function well, even at advanced ages.
In one such study, documented in the Archives of Neurology (March 2001), it was found that the people with the highest activity levels were only half as likely as inactive people to develop Alzheimer’s. Further, these active people were also substantially less likely to develop any form of dementia or impairment in mental functioning.
In another study1, some mice were bred to develop the type of plaque that is associated with Alzheimer’s in their brains. Some of the mice were allowed to exercise and some were not.
Two important findings emerged:
- The mice who exercised developed 50-80% less plaque in their brains than the non-exercising mice developed.
- The exercising mice produced more of the enzyme that prevents the buildup of plaque in the brain.
The takeaway conclusion? Those people who exercise more are significantly less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or any other kind of dementia.
2. Eat A Healthy Diet
Exercise is not the only thing that can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Diet also plays a crucial role. The best diet for preventing dementia is one low in processed foods but high in natural foods such as:
- fresh vegetables
- fresh fruit
- whole grains
- Fatty fish
Scientists think that the protection these foods offer against dementia stems from their high concentration of Omega fatty acids and antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals which are responsible for the brain damage that causes dementia.
A healthy diet also helps you avoid other health problems such as obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and arteriosclerosis.
Essentially, the idea with this diet is not just to provide brain-healthy nutrients, but, to also simply get you leaner as that seems to be a major risk factor all by itself.
For example, another study cited by Robbins found that persons who are obese in their middle age’s are twice as likely to develop dementia in their later years as those people who had normal weights. Further, if these people also have high cholesterol and/or high blood pressure, their risk for dementia in old age escalates to six times higher than normal-weight people.
What Are You Waiting For?
Remember, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Once symptoms start showing up it is too late.
Start now to defend yourself, I feel it’s a duty of mine to share this with you after having seen someone I love digress and what that does to an entire family.
So please, get moving and eat a clean, healthy diet. You will reap the benefits literally for years to come and be able to make the best days of your life last the rest of your life.
– Coach Dan Garner