Alzheimer’s Disease: Dementia Risk Can Be Modified Through Better Prevention

Contributed by: Vijaya Reddy, MD, Geriatric Medicine

AlzheimersDiseaseEvery 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. More than five million Americans are currently living with the disease, making it the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Alzheimer’s is a complex neurological disease that is the most common form of dementia. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss and ability to focus and pay attention are the most common symptoms. Dementia is caused by damage to the brain cells, which causes interference of brain cells communicating with each other.

The good news is there are ways to potentially reduce the risk of dementia even in late-life. A new report from researchers with Alzheimer’s Disease International found that better prevention and detection can, in some cases, significantly reduce the risk of getting dementia.

The report focused on controlling diabetes, blood pressure and smoking cessation. Researchers found that diabetes can increase the risk of dementia by 50%. Obesity and lack of physical activity are important risk factors for diabetes and hypertension, therefore, making those factors a high priority to treat and control and eventually eliminate. Another risk factor the report found to target is smoking. Smokers are at a much higher risk for developing dementia versus a non-smoker.

By working on better prevention for overall health, we can enter the later part of life with a better developed, healthier brain, allowing a longer, happier and more independent life. Brain health is important throughout your entire life but more so in mid to late-life because of changes in the brain that come naturally with aging.

If you or a loved one is concerned about age progression, dementia or Alzheimer’s, schedule an appointment with our geriatric and internal medicine specialist by calling (513) 475-UC4U.

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