by Meredith Crifasi
What causes Alzheimer's?
Scientists believe that this disease is a combination of genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors that affect the brain over time. Lifestyle can increase one's risk for Alzheimer's disease by being physically inactive and not maintaining activities that engage the brain such as reading, doing crossword puzzles, playing musical instruments, and participating actively in life. A bad diet may also increase one's risk. Genetics, however, is an important factor in the development of Alzheimer's. Your likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease increases if a family member has it. In most cases, the greatest risk factor is old age. Although Alzheimer's is not fully understood, scientists can still see the effects on the brain. Quite simply, Alzheimer's damages and kills brain cells resulting in memory loss.
What gene is affected by this disorder?
Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease
Tuesday, April 28th, 8:30am
The Medical Offices of Meredith Crifasi, MD and Annabel Kuhn, MD
For American's, there are 5.1 million people with Alzheimer's Disease today.
Can anyone get this disease?
Yes, anyone can get Alzheimer's disease. However, since this disease is known to have an genetic autosomal dominant pattern, you can inherit the disease. Your likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease is 4 to 10 times greater if you have a first-degree relative with it than someone who has no family history of the disease. Recently, it has been discovered that the risk is higher for people who have a mother with Alzheimer's disease than for those who have a father or no parent with the disease. Another important fact worth noting is that almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer's are women. Of the 5.1 million people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's in the United States, 3.2 million are women and 1.9 million are men. Although there are more non-Hispanic whites living with Alzheimer's and other dementias than people of other ethnicities in the U.S., this disease does not discriminate -- anyone of any race can get it!
Children & Alzheimer's
It is highly unlikely for a child to have Alzheimer's disease. However, it is worth noting that early-onset ADHD can be a contributing factor for the development of Alzheimer's later in life.
Treatments and Cures for Alzheimer's
As of right now, there are no treatments available to cure Alzheimer's. However, there are treatments and medications to help slow down memory loss, though, it cannot stop it completely or prevent it. Medications can also be given to calm someone down when they are agitated. And as of right now, this disease cannot be prevented. There are ways, however, to reduce your risk for developing the disease:
- Remain physically active
- Maintain a healthy weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol level
- Reduce your risk for diabetes
- Eat a healthy diet consisting mostly of fish, vegetables, and fruits. Reduce your intake of red meat, processed meat, fatty foods and foods high in sugar.
- Maintain cardiovascular health
- Exercise your brain by doing crossword puzzles, reading, going to concerts, attending lectures and museums, playing musical instruments, and engaging with people.
If someone has Alzheimer's, can they still have children?
Current Status of Research
At the moment, there is no cure for Alzheimer's. Researchers have been studying the quality of life, prevention trials, and also doing some online studies to better understand the disease as well as find causes, treatments, and cures. Right now, they are working on new drugs and testing them to see if they help in the future.
Did you know?
If you are caring for a loved one who has been stricken with Alzheimer's disease you should:
- Never let them drive a car
- Never leave them unattended
- Never let them make major decisions
- Never let them live alone
- Never ask "do you remember"
- Never argue with or contradict the person
- Never delay nursing home placement when it is needed
- Never stop visiting them even if they don't remember you