Just Some Quick Background about the Genetics/causes of the Disease
There is an undoubtable link between genetics and Alzheimer’s disease. In looking at genetic studies about diseases and risk factors, 2 categories are important, risk genes and deterministic genes (https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers/causes-and-risk-factors). Risk genes make someone more likely to develop the disease, an increased risk but not a guarantee. Deterministic genes cause the disease, flat out, if you have these particular type of genes for a certain disease, you are guaranteed to have or develop the disease.
The great news is that according to www.alz.org, less than 1% of all cases of Alzheimer’s Disease are caused by deterministic genes. That means that through lifestyle changes it is possible that 99% of cases of Alzheimer’s could be prevented or at least prolong the onset of symptoms. That is AMAZING! So here are 5 ways you can prevent or prolong the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease:
1. Diet Changes
Less sugar is the biggie here. Research has shown sugar to have an impact on a multitude of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Cancer, and Diabetes. (For more info about the connection between sugar and Alzheimer’s, check out this article here: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/01/the-startling-link-between-sugar-and-alzheimers/551528/). Research has favored the Mediterranean Diet as the best current option according to www.alz.org
2. Get Quality Sleep
Preferably without the use of sleep aids, if you can. Sleep is the brain’s reset button, it is when the brain cleans out all the extra clutter of excess information we input daily. So, if we are taking aids or not getting quality sleep regularly, our brain is not able to effectively carry out those tasks. This can result in inability to concentrate or take in new information effectively, essentially because your brain is cluttered and needs some “spring cleaning” so to speak. Sleep is the brain’s time for maintenance and organization, so you can imagine how lack of quality sleep over time can drastically impact the brain’s ability to operate at optimum levels and you can see how it could make the brain much more vulnerable to damage or disease. If you would like to read more about how sleep affects the brain, check out
There is a clear link between brain stimulation and physical exercise, as physical exercise can increase oxygen and blood flow to the brain according to www.alz.org. Exercise also helps stave off other health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and the like, which also may play a role in the development or progression of Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias.
4. Brain Games
Learning new things is especially important because your brain goes through a totally different process when taking in new information/tasks as opposed to something you are familiar with. Learning a new language is shown to be a great activity and with apps like Duolingo that are free and fun, there’s really no reason not to try it. (p.s. Duolingo is not a sponsor or anything, that is just the app I personally use so I felt safe recommending it here). There is also some benefits to playing brain games/puzzles, card games and definitely socializing.
5. Treating Any Existing Conditions
Treat any existing head injuries, heart disease, diabetes, hearing loss, gingivitis, anxiety and autoimmune diseases. I’ll post some more articles at the bottom of the page for more reading.
All these things are really just simple healthy lifestyle choices, but I know just how hard it is to make these changes. I love my sugar and cokes, but the thought of being able to prevent such a devastating disease is so much more worth it.
I know myself, with my family history (father, grandmother and uncle all with Alzheimer’s) I have at least a 50% chance of being affected with this disease. So, the thought that 99% of cases are NOT genetic (by deterministic genes) is really encouraging. I most likely at least have the genes that place me more at risk, but there is a large chance that I can do something about it. From making these changes, I might never develop the disease at all, or maybe I can prolong the onset, so instead of showing symptoms at 72 like my father, maybe I won’t start showing symptoms until I’m 85 or older even.
So I really hope this article encourages you and your family to make these simple but difficult changes to improve and better your quality of life. Let’s make Alzheimer’s Disease a thing of rarity, I can do it and you can do it.