Is Alzheimer’s prevention possible?

By: May 07, 2012
alzheimer’s prevention

Prevention of the disease or a slowing of it's progression may be possible with some lifestyle changes.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and though the research to find a cause and cure is ongoing, it remains much of a mystery. What we know about Alzheimer’s is that it is a progressive disease that affects the memory, thinking, and behavior. We know that it mostly affects people over the age of 65, but contrary to popular belief it is not a disease limited to the elderly, with some sufferers beginning to show signs of Alzheimer’s as early as their 40s or 50s.

Warning Signs

Knowing the warning signs of Alzheimer’s is crucial in getting the treatment needed as early as possible to help slow the progression of symptoms. They include:

  • Memory loss that causes a disruption of daily life
  • Confusion about time and place
  • Trouble with planning or solving problems
  • Trouble completing day-to-day tasks
  • Trouble with visual images and determining space or distance
  • Misplacing things and being unable to retrace their steps to find it
  • New problems with speaking or writing
  • Poor judgment
  • Mood or personality changes

It’s important to remember that though these signs may seem like regular signs of aging they are in fact more severe. New problems with memory or confusion that seem to arise or worsen quickly should be evaluated by a doctor right away, as well as sudden visual and perception changes.

Prevention of Alzheimers

While medications do exist to help with some of the symptoms that accompany Alzheimer’s, prevention of the disease or a slowing of the progression of the disease may be possible with some lifestyle changes. The recent findings of a possible connection between cardiovascular issues, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease and stroke have many doctor’s convinced that better treatment and management of cardiovascular conditions could prevent Alzheimer’s. Also, evidence is ever-mounting on the benefits of exercise and a healthier lifestyle for the prevention of the disease as well as the ability to slow the progression of the disease.

Exercise is thought to be the best way to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s not only because of the benefits on cardiovascular health, which as we just mentioned is connected, but also because of the improved flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, which improves the overall health of the brain. As well, there has been some evidence that suggests that a Mediterranean-type diet that is rich in vegetables, whole grains, fish and shellfish, and olive oil can help prevent Alzheimer’s.