As the population continues to age, the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to increase some 70 percent, as the greatest known risk factor of Alzheimer’s is age. About 4.5 million people are affected today and the number of those affected is growing exponentially.
Experts are calling this great increase in Alzheimer’s cases a “looming public health disaster” that could potentially turn into an unmanageable health care crisis. Aside from the great emotional and physical toll the disease can take, an Alzheimer’s epidemic will have devastating consequences for the health care economy. Already, U.S. businesses spend $61 billion on Alzheimer’s each year for medical expenses and loss of productivity, and economic studies estimate that Medicare spending on Alzheimer’s will rise 54 percent to $49.3 billion, and Medicaid costs will rise 80 percent to $33 billion by 2010.
What’s important to understand, though, is that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, and there are ways to reduce your chances of getting the disease.
Guidelines to Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease:
- Eat a Nutritious Diet. One of the most important things you can do to prevent dementia is to eat a healthy diet, eliminate processed foods in your diet and replace them with fresh vegetables, which are high in folate and, also, add folate as a daily supplement. Get your fat balance right. Eliminate processed oils and add fish oil or an omega-3 supplement to your daily regime.
- Exercise. We all know that exercise is good for our cardiovascular system, but studies have found that exercise can also protect the brain, thereby warding off Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. According to one study, the odds of developing Alzheimer’s were nearly quadrupled in people between the ages of 20 and 60, who were less active during their leisure time.
- Minimize Heavy Metals Exposure. Even trace amounts of mercury or aluminum have the potential to cause the type of damage to nerves that is characteristic of the damage found in Alzheimer’s disease. Dental amalgam fillings are one of the major sources of mercury, however, you should be healthy prior to having them removed. Aluminum has been widely associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Your main sources of exposure are likely through drinking water and antiperspirants.
- Challenge Your Mind. Mental stimulation, such as traveling, learning to play an instrument or doing crossword puzzles, is associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up the brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Take Supplements. Finally take COQ10 and use a high quality supplement such as Life Factors with a superior antioxidant. Antioxidants are known to guard against Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.
Researchers have not yet developed a means of reliably identifying who will develop Alzheimer’s. Some 4.5 million people have been diagnosed with the disease, and its prevalence doubles every five years after age 65. There are some helpful warning signs, though, and those are in the table below.
Alzheimer’s Warning Signs:
- Serious memory loss. People with Alzheimer’s frequently forget appointments, telephone numbers and important information.
- Difficulty performing everyday tasks. They might not remember how to complete a familiar routine.
- Problems with abstract thinking. Those with Alzheimer’s can’t do simple math; they might forget what the numbers represent.