The Hard Facts About Alzheimer’s

Mental Fitness, Motivational

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It seems like every day I read about a new study being done on Alzheimer’s. With all the attention being paid to this disease, I’m optimistic that scientists will one day be able to diagnose the disease much earlier, treat the symptoms more effectively, and maybe (God willing), even find a cure for it. Until then, it pays to stay on top of the information we’re being provided. And when the experts tell us things that we can do and should do to increase our chances of never suffering from Alzheimer’s, we should move Heaven and earth to do as they say.

Recent studies show that drinking juice (vegetable and/or fruit) seems to protect people from the disease. Add this to the other suggestions we’ve learned about: Eating a low-calorie diet, staying intellectually active, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, getting plenty of exercise, and….be still my heart….drinking coffee.

One of the best things we can all do, however, is to STAY INFORMED. Don’t skim over medical stories that you think will never affect you – Rather, read them front to back to learn what you can do to make sure they never will affect you.

Facts about Alzheimer’s:

  • The best estimate is that 4.5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s, although the number probably will rise as the population ages.
  • Scientists don’t know exactly what causes Alzheimer’s, but they think many factors can affect each person differently.
  • Though Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, age is a primary factor. Alzheimer’s usually doesn’t appear until after age 60. About 5 percent of people ages 65 to 74 have the disease, but the percentage jumps to nearly half after age 85.
  • Generally, if members of your family have had Alzheimer’s, you are more likely to be at risk. For example, researchers know that early-onset Alzheimer’s, a rare form that strikes between ages 30 and 60, is inherited. Doctors think a number of genetic mutations and variations can increase risk, but they haven’t been identified yet.
  • Alzheimer’s develops slowly and can begin to appear as forgetfulness. however most people with mild forgetfulness don’t have Alzheimer’s.
  • For now the only way to definitely diagnose Alzheimer’s is to examine brain tissue after a person dies. However, at specialized centers – such as the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging – experts can use specialized cognitive testing to accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s in about 90 percent of cases.
  • Drugs sometimes can slow symptoms in the early and middle stages of the disease, but there is no cure. Yet.

(Source: National Institute on Aging.)

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