Can You Prevent Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease may not receive the attention that other illnesses do, but it’s an affliction faced by almost 5.2 million Americans every year, and the number is only expected to rise as baby boomers grow older. Experts estimate that the number of adults 65+ with Alzheimer’s may triple by 2050 unless more effective medical treatments, cures, or preventative measures are discovered.

This Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, ARCpoint Labs is sharing all about Alzheimer’s — including how you can lower your chances of developing the disease.

All About Alzheimer’s Disease

What Causes Alzheimer’s?ARCpoint Labs | Can You Prevent Alzheimer's?

Unfortunately, scientists aren’t yet sure what causes Alzheimer’s. What is known is that the disease develops due to a complex chain of events occurring in the brain over an extended period of time. Various factors — including environmental, genetic, and lifestyle — are thought to influence the development of Alzheimer’s.

Essentially, in Alzheimer’s disease, damage to the brain occurs as abnormal protein deposits cause amyloid plaques and tau tangles to form in the brain, making healthy neurons perform with less efficiency. As the disease progresses, these neurons can no longer function or communicate, and damage spreads to the hippocampus, the area of the brain in charge of forming memories. While more neurons die, the areas of the brain impacted by Alzheimer’s shrink, further harming memory and brain function.

Alzheimer’s Effects

Many people don’t realize that Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t just affect the memory. Over 500,000 seniors die every year due to the disease, making it the 6th leading cause of death in our nation — 5th among those 65+, more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

In addition to its potentially fatal effects, Alzheimer’s disease has many behavioral and mental effects. Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Memory problems, including amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI)
  • Impaired judgment
  • Vision/spatial problems
  • Difficulty
  • Difficulty managing finances
  • Repeating conversations or questions
  • Difficulty completing everyday tasks
  • Mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty recognizing friends and family
  • Difficulty with multi-step tasks
  • Delusions or paranoia
  • Trouble coping with unfamiliar situations or learning new things
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Inability to communicate
  • Inability to care for self

Alzheimer’s Prevention

Although it is a widespread disease, researchers have thus far been unable to identify ways to prevent, slow, or cure Alzheimer’s.

There are some studies, though, that show connections between Alzheimer’s and other conditions, including stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, that may point to some preventative measures to take against the disease. These include eating well, exercising regularly, and working to maintain a healthy weight. Social and mental stimulation may also help you maintain cognitive function as you age.

Alzheimer’s and ARCpoint Labs

ARCpoint Labs offers a variety of clinical lab tests you and your doctor can use to evaluate your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, including cholesterol testing, heart health panels, diabetes testing, and more. Visit your nearest ARCpoint Labs location today for convenient walk-in lab testing!

 

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