Act now to reduce your risk of developing this devastating disease before you experience the first symptoms.
Preventing Alzheimer’s dementia: The journey begins
My passion for preventing Alzheimer’s dementia started from a hospital bed. As I lay there following my cardiac arrest, I couldn’t help wondering: What is wrong with me? My 100-year-old grandfather lived a healthy life without ever taking medication. My father is 90, and he has also enjoyed good health.
I am a physician who has worked in two different countries. My work has been in various health care systems encompassing traditional to conventional to modern medicine. I’ve worked in different medical settings, including a clinic, a nursing facility, and now a hospital. Currently, I practice medicine in an emergency and critical care department
My physical health
There I was, working long hours in an emergency room, and forced to acknowledge numerous health problems. I was:
- Smoking and eating way too much,
- Sleeping only four to five hours daily,
- Consuming a lot of coffee but still having trouble staying awake,
- Often short of breath, and required a CPAP machine when sleeping,
- Taking three blood pressure medications a day (all of which failed to bring my systolic pressure any lower than 190), and
- Taking both Zantac and Protonix for my acid reflux—and buying Tums in bulk.
My cognitive health
Worst of all, I couldn’t think clearly. I had always loved to learn and had enjoyed using that learning on behalf of my patients in the emergency room. But now, I felt as though I was suffering from “brain fog.” It was becoming increasingly difficult to keep a sharp mind and stay alert and equipped to do my job.
My life was a pattern of stress, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, a sedentary lifestyle, and other practices detrimental to my health. Because of this garbage, my body’s immune system was in a constant state of alert. It was sending out response after response in an attempt to limit the effects of all that garbage. All these inflammatory responses led to the chronic diseases that were ruining my health.
Preventing Alzheimer’s dementia begins with a new lifestyle and healthier habits
I decided to work on the causes of my poor health and committed myself to this effort. It took time and dedication, but I lost 70 pounds. My triglycerides went from 480 to 80. My blood sugar level is now within normal limits. I exercise daily without any shortness of breath. I have stopped smoking and eat a healthy, plant-based diet. At 50, I am healthier than I have ever been. Best of all, my mind is sharp again.
Preventing Alzheimer’s Dementia: The role of inflammation
Through all of these changes, I carried out an intensive personal research project on my own body. I looked beyond my symptoms to the causes of my poor health.
But wait! You might be asking yourself: What does my cardiac arrest and recovery have to do with preventing Alzheimer’s dementia?
During my journey to better health, I discovered that inflammation is the root cause of all chronic diseases. I will explain inflammation more thoroughly in future articles, but chronic inflammation is a continued immune response to the garbage we bring into our lives.
When I changed my lifestyle—in other words, when I got rid of the garbage—my body was able to calm the inflammation and heal.
Part of that inflammation was happening in my brain. Remember my foggy thinking? I am still amazed at how much sharper my cognitive abilities are today compared to those dark days when I was so sick and didn’t even realize it.
My Patients with Alzheimer’s –
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of a syndrome of disease we call dementia. Repeatedly, in the ER where I work, I see patients with Alzheimer’s. Often, these patients have reached the stage where their anxieties make them violent, and their families are seeking some medication that will calm the patients down so that they can continue to receive care at home.
At this point, there’s nothing I can do for them except prescribe a drug that will slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s a little. After millions of dollars and decades of research, we still do not have an effective treatment for preventing Alzheimer’s progression once symptoms appear.
Preventing Alzheimer’s: Reducing your risks
Based on my experience of regaining my health, I began to wonder if there were some ways to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s if people dealt with the root causes before symptoms appear. I also observed the adverse effects of the disease on caregivers, the unsung heroes of our society, and I genuinely, passionately wanted to relieve their anxieties and burdens as well.
I began an in-depth study of Alzheimer’s disease, seeking how we can all reduce our risk of developing this devastating disease for which we have such inadequate therapies once symptoms appear.
When patients with Alzheimer’s come to the ER, there is little I can do for their disease. However, I can offer some hope to their caregivers about how they can reduce their risk of developing the same symptoms—if they start long before the symptoms appear.
A guidebook and support is available
I wrote Dementia Action Plan: Give Your Brain a Fighting Chance, to offer hope and enable you to explore new and better opportunities for cognitive health. In this book, I describe a healing process that anyone can choose for his or her own life, without expensive doctors, programs, or treatment plans. You want your body to be healthy and vibrant. I want to show how you can help your body achieve that goal.
You now have a guidebook, along with additional support, on our website. As you begin your journey, you can learn and thus experience greater understanding as you develop new habits. You will also learn to make better choices and enjoy a healthier and happier life. These better choices will support your efforts in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
I try to avoid overselling my recommendations as guarantees. Instead, I offer the best possible advice for protecting your cognitive and physical health. By making step-by-step changes, if you get started and keep going, you will improve your overall health. Additionally, you will reduce your risk of dementia, and specifically Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Hamid R. Sagha, MD, is the Founder and CEO of Interact Well Care, LLC. He established IWC in 2014 as a memory improvement center with a mission to increase public awareness about the neurodegenerative disease umbrella and memory impairment.
Dr. Sagha is also the author of Dementia Action Plan, a book based on his years of extensive research and studies about brain function, memory impairment, and neurodegenerative disease. In his book, he presents this complex subject in easy-to-understand terms and empowers the reader with specific instructions on how to decrease the risk of dementia.