Warding Off Alzheimer's Disease

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Genetics play a huge role in determining whether Alzheimer's will manifest, and while no one is my family has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's yet, my chances of being afflicted are still high.

Risk Factors

  • Diabetes. My unchecked diabetes caused high glucose levels for decades. Studies now show that this causes sticky plaque build up in the brain.
  • Mercury exposure. When I was a child, it was common practice to fill cavities with silver mercury. I had lots of fillings that stayed in my mouth until only recently in my late middle age.
  • Regular consumption of foods stored in tin and aluminum. Canned food manufacturing during my parents' generation relied upon these materials that have been found to have adverse health effects.
  • High meat and fat diet.
  • Diet high in soy. In studies, the amount of soy tested for adverse effects equals to about one pound a day. This is far more than the average American but not so for the typical Asian. I happen to be Asian and I eat/ate a lot of tofu daily.
  • Exposure to toxic pollution. China is experiencing skyrocketing rates of Alzheimer's and dementia in their elderly population. Scientists speculate that the dangerous levels of air pollution could be contributing to the cause. (Of course, I worry it's due to the high consumption of tofu.)
  • Depression.
  • Genetics. Alzheimer's and dementia run in families.

Except for the last, I have all the rest of the risk factors. Worse, I have been showing signs of cognitive decline.

Early Signs

  • Foggy brain.
  • Memory loss.
  • Loss of reflex reaction and motor skills.
  • Slow mental processing of language.

Most of the above signs can be attributed to the natural aging process but the interfere with daily living, it's something to be concerned about. A doctor can administer a quick screening to determine if the declines warrant treatment.

Tests for Cognitive Decline

Here are a few typical questions on cognitive assessment tests.

  1. State your name, address and telephone number.
  2. What is today's date?
  3. Count backwards by 7s, starting at 100. This shouldn't require a lot of time to compute in one's head.
  4. Draw a round clock face with the numbers on them and put the hands at 10: 35.
  5. You are buying $13.45 of groceries. How much change would you receive back from a $20 bill?
  6. Repeat a list of five unrelated items that is given verbally five minutes earlier. Patient must be engaged in other conversation after the list is given verbally to him once and before he repeats it. (music, onion, airplane, country, ape)

SAGE

For a free, more comprehensive self-administered exam, try SAGE (Self Administers Gerocognitive Exam). The link is to the right of this article.

Genetic counseling and Apo E

There are other tests for Alzheimer's, too. Apo E and genetic counseling can help identify the markers that indicate the presence of Alz.

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What You Can Do to Prevent Alz

The good news is that you can ward off Alzheimer's disease even if you are genetically predisposed. Genetics account for only about 30 percent of your chances of developing cognitive decline; the rest is influenced by controllable factors.

First, avoid all of the aforementioned risk factors. In addition to that, here are some proven ways to improve your brain health:

  • Keep blood sugar within normal ranges. If you have diabetes, manage it well.
  • Exercise regularly. This keeps oxygen-rich blood flowing to your brain and helps remove some of the harmful plaque build-up.
  • Keep learning. Push your brain with learning something new and playing brain health games.
  • Be social. Isolation allows a person to sink into depression while socializing forces one to practice language processing skills. Having to respond to others, exchanging thoughts, works the brain.
  • Manage other medical conditions. Take care of your overall well-being. If you must take medication, do so under the watchful eye of a doctor. Take prescribed dosages, note any negative effects.
  • Eat a diet that promotes brain health. Some foods has been shown to keep the brain functioning well, and early results reveal some foods may actually reverse some effects of Alz.

Dr. Mary Newport's Coconut Oil Experiment

Coconut Oil Shown to REVERSE Alz Symptoms

Dr. Mary Newport experimented with coconut oil on her own husband who has Alzheimer's. Her results were startling and promising for the use of coconut oil to treat Alz.

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Foods that promote brain health

  • Coconut oil.
  • Olive oil.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids. Found in flaxseed, beans, fish, avocados.
  • Nuts. Brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds. Not peanuts.
  • Seeds. Chia seeds especially.
  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Berries and cherries.
  • Dark chocolate.
  • Tumeric.
  • Coffee


"Let food by thy medicine." ~ Hippocrates

Dr.DanielAmen's List of Food that Cause Alz

Are you concerned about developing Alzheimer's?

What is your level of concern?

  • I'm not worried at all. I have a healthy lifestyle.
  • I'm slightly concerned since I have some risk factors.
  • I'm very worried as it runs in my family.
  • I'm worried because I'm showing some early signs of cognitive decline!
See results without voting

Should you be concerned?

Everyone should be concerned about brain health because the brain is in charge of all the body's operating systems. In addition, the brain is where the personality exists, and it is most difficult for loved ones to "lose" their Alz or dementia-afflicted family member.

Most of the depression brought on by this condition stems from the patient not being able to function as they once did. The frustrations mount when they cannot remember common things like the name of their spouse and even who they are.

A wise person is proactive and will not wait until signs of these diseases appear. Protect your brain now and ward off Alzheimer's and dementia while you can.

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7 comments

iWilliams311 profile image

iWilliams311 2 years ago from Denver, Colorado

Very well written hub. Very helpful advice on aging and long-term care. I got particularly interested with how food/diet plays a big role in helping prevent Alzheimer's. The part on coconut oil was also very insightful. I've heard a lot about VCO as an aid to arthritis, so now there's another reason to take this oil :) Also want to share these list of power food that can also help in overall brain health. http://www.freeltcquotes.com/Top-6-Power-Foods-For...


Lori P. profile image

Lori P. 2 years ago from Southern California USA Author

Thank you for reading and for your recommendation. I will look into it. I, too, was impressed that coconut oil seems to have a dramatic and immediate positive effect on cognition processing! I'm trying to come up with a palatable way to eat it as I don't eat oatmeal (too many carbs) and is overpowering in salad dressing. This may be my fantasy thinking but I wonder if I blend some with unsweetened cocoa powder, toasted coconut and chopped almonds, I can make a power "candy!" It may not taste sweet so you can add your favorite sweetener such as agave or stevia! Thanks again for your nice comment!


iWilliams311 profile image

iWilliams311 2 years ago from Denver, Colorado

oatmeal has lots of carbs?? :-0 I hope it's the "nice" type of carbs cuz I eat a lot of oatmeal in the morning. :-) About the VCO, I just take 1 tbsp. daily, after breakfast or lunch. I agree, it's not exactly the most pleasant thing to eat, but I just get it over with and say to myself "this will help me in my long-term care and old age." hehe :) Hope to read more of your great hubs! Your welcome!


Lori P. profile image

Lori P. 2 years ago from Southern California USA Author

Oatmeal is a "good" carb! :) However, it does raise your glucose levels so diabetics just have to be aware. If you're not diabetic, no worries. If you are--and you eat it routinely--you'll just have to be sure to adjust your insulin or medication. Thank you again. :)


John D Hurbon profile image

John D Hurbon 22 months ago

Wow! As a Certified Dementia Practitioner trained by Cindy Keith of Mind In Memory Care, I want to say I love your Hub post. I am new to sharing meaningful content on this format so I am learning a lot. Thank You Lori.

John D Hurbon - assisted living benson

Arizona Skyline Assisted Living Home

Benson Arizona www.azskylinealh.com


Au fait profile image

Au fait 15 months ago from North Texas

Preventing Alzheimer's from taking over is just one more thing people who have no access to healthcare in this county cannot do. If you don't have money or insurance, no doctor is going to help you until you get some money or insurance. That's how it works for poor people, but a lot of people in this country don't realize that, nor care.

They do realize it if and when they become poor and can't afford healthcare anymore, but then it's too late to change anything because no one cares what you think or what you're going through or going without once you are one of the poverty stricken.

A wonderful hub full of good advice for those people who can take advantage of it. I hope things will change so that everyone in this country will have the advantage of advice like this and medical care as needed one day.

I note that you have published 34 hubs, yet only a dozen or so are visible and available on your profile page to be read.

To correct that, go to your profile page. Click on "Edit Profile." Go to almost the bottom of that page where it says "Show only Featured Hubs on my profile:" Click on the 'NO' box and then all of your hubs will be visible again on your profile page.

I realize they have been idled, which is why they aren't showing, but that's no reason not to make them available for readers interested in them. After all your work of writing them, let people who wish to read them do so. The advertising remains on them, so benefit all you can from them even though they are not currently indexed by Google.


Lori P. profile image

Lori P. 15 months ago from Southern California USA Author

Thank you for reading and for your great comments and suggestions, Au fait. I really appreciate it.

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