Any time is a great time to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. I believe caretakers can affect the progress of the disease even after it’s clear a person has Alzheimer’s dementia.
However, addressing your risk of Alzheimer’s before you have symptoms is an excellent decision because the changes in the brain that lead to Alzheimer’s begin 20 years before symptoms occur.
Today, people speak of three stages of Alzheimer’s:
- Pre-clinical: Patients are asymptomatic in this stage, but the damage is already beginning to occur.
- Mild Cognitive Impairment: Symptoms of memory loss begin to appear.
- Alzheimer’s Dementia: Unmistakable, life-impairing symptoms with an inevitable decline toward death.
People in the pre-clinical stage have measurable changes in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid, and researchers are working on blood tests that will identify biomarkers for Alzheimer’s before symptoms occur. One day soon, blood test, imaging studies, and other medical assessments will deliver a diagnosis of pre-dementia.
In the meantime, you can proactively address your risk of this disease while at the same time improving your overall health.
Let’s review the hallmark characteristics of Alzheimer’s dementia:
- Aggregated plaques of protein that impede messages in the brain;
- The plaques trigger twisted protein threads inside brain cells that result in cell death;
- Decreased brain size and function due to the death of many cells.
These changes in the brain happen over time. When they reach a critical point, symptoms appear. Although we cannot offer guarantees that you will delay or reverse these changes, we do know that there are clear associations between certain lifestyle choices and a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s.
These lifestyle choices include better sleep, increased movement, better nutrition, stress reduction, detoxification, better social connections, and mental and sensory stimulation. By addressing these lifestyle changes, you will also improve your overall organ and system health.
Please begin today to make these changes so that you can have a bright, vibrant future with a sharp mind and healthy body. If you act today, you and your family, community and society will all benefit today.