Alzheimer’s disease is expected to triple in the next 30 to 40 years in this country. Approximately 4.5 million people currently have the disease. It is the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the fifth in Washington State. Today, nearly 1 in 10 people between the ages of 65-74 have the condition and almost half of those over the age of 85 now show symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The cost in lives and money continues to grow. Over $100 billion a year is currently spent on the condition, which makes it the third most expensive disease in the U.S to manage. By the year 2025, it is estimated that annual Medicare spending on Alzheimer’s patients will be nearly $300 billion. At this time, there are no proven ways to cure the disease. There are some medications available that work to slow the condition, but nothing to eliminate or cure the disease, which makes prevention all the more important.
How can Alzheimer’s be prevented? Many of the ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease are the same as those used for preventing heart disease. Here are a few suggestions.
- Consume at least one tablespoon of fish oil daily (eat fish or take capsules)
- Take Folate and a B-complex vitamin (to lower homocysteine levels)
- Maintain normal vitamin E levels
- Use Turmeric (curcumin)—take capsules, use the powder form or eat curry regularly.
- Lower blood pressure
- Control body weight and BMI
- Control blood sugar
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain normal hormone levels (talk to your doctor)
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to help reduce free radicals and the effects of “oxidative stress”
- Lower stress and find healthy ways to control it (deep breathing, prayer, exercise, writing, sports, or find a hobby)
- Reduce exposure to mercury and aluminum
- Eat more blueberries
- Don’t smoke
- Keep an active brain—stay socially involved and mentally active (read, do puzzles, play games, etc.)
- Avoid exposure to heavy metals & pesticides
- Treat and manage depression
- Avoid major head trauma
- Treat all infections properly
- Maintain normal melatonin levels (particularly later in life)
- Use herbs and supplements—there is some evidence that CoQ10, gingko, DHA, carnitine, and alpha lopoic acid may help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
- Get plenty of vitamin C
Always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements. Contact your provider for more information.
By Brent Grider
*Information provided by the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, www.mercola.com, wwwalzheimersprevention.org, & the Alzheimer’s Association.