May 21, 2011

Alzheimer's, Exercise, Lifestyle

Can you prevent or delay Alzheimer's?....

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
February, 2010

Can you prevent or delay Alzheimer's? I believe you can. One thing I know for sure, if you are not trying to prevent Alzheimer's and heart disease you are rolling the dice. Is it really worth the risk? Like it or not, you are making a decision, a risky decision if you are not trying to prevent or delay diseases that can kill you.

You might consider this. If you end up suffering from Alzheimer's it is likely that you will deteriorate slowly over a very long period of time. Don't take my word for it.

We have readers on this website that are caring or have cared for someone with Alzheimer's for more than a decade. They watched as someone they love loses the ability to do most of the things you take for granted. Simple things like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, going to the bathroom in the toilet, walking out to the kitchen to get a glass of water. And finally, the simple ability to recognize the people they loved the most, and they knew most or all of their life.

When your brain goes you lose the ability to function. One by one, you lose the ability to live your life.

When you suffer from Alzheimer's disease consider this -- You are still alive. Alive in a a way that you could never have expected.

Here are some scientific facts that you should consider.

  • There are at least 18 research studies showing that exercise can improve memory in people suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
  • A recent meta-analysis of the reports shows that a physical exercise program -- even one started when people are in their 70s -- can significantly boost executive function -- your brain.
  • Investigators looked at the relationship of physical activity and mental function in about 6,000 women age 65 and older, over an 8 year period. They found that the women who were more physically active were less likely to experience a decline in their mental function than inactive women.
  • Mice that exercised had 50 to 80 percent less plaque in their brains than the brains of the sedentary mice. Importantly, exercising mice produced significantly more of an enzyme in the brain that prevents plaque.
  • High cholesterol in your 40s increases the odds of contracting Alzheimer's--by 50 percent.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) causes build-up of beta-amyloid in the brain. Beta-amyloid is a central component of the senile plaque in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, and its toxicity against brain cells is believed to be a prime cause of Alzheimer's.
  • This fact is not well known but if you have a big belly in middle age the chances that you could suffer from dementia are tripled.
It really is your choice. You can exercise and change your lifestyle to lower the risks of suffering from Alzheimer's. You can pay close attention to your blood pressure, cholesterol and body fat. Exercise is an important component of controlling all three.

Or, if you prefer you can roll the dice. Let me know the next time you meet a gambler that didn't go broke.

Can you prevent or delay Alzheimer's?

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,680 articles with more than 512,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room