Q. My mother is terrified of getting Alzheimer’s disease, which her own mother died from. Is there anything encouraging out there to help allay her fears?
Yes, indeed. In fact, a recently recently released study that more than half of all Alzheimer’s disease cases could potentially be prevented through lifestyle changes and treatment or prevention of chronic medical conditions.
Researchers in this study led by Deborah Barnes, Ph.D., a mental health researcher at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC), reported the proportion of Alzheimer’s cases worldwide that are potentially attributable to each of seven risk factors.
Together, these seven potentially modifiable risk factors have contributed to roughly 50 percent of Alzheimer’s cases worldwide (51 percent, 17.2 million) and in the U.S. (54 percent, 2.9 million):
- low education 19 percent
- smoking 14 percent
- physical inactivity 13 percent
- depression 11 percent
- mid-life hypertension 5 percent
- mid-life obesity 2 percent
- diabetes 2 percent
And specifically in the U.S.:
- physical inactivity 21 percent
- depression 15 percent
- smoking 11 percent
- mid-life hypertension 8 percent
- mid-life obesity 7 percent
- low education 7 percent
- diabetes 3 percent
“What’s exciting is this suggests that some very simple lifestyle changes could have a tremendous impact on preventing Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the United States and worldwide,” Barnes said.
“We were surprised that lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity and smoking appear to contribute to a larger number of Alzheimer’s cases than cardiovascular diseases in our model,” added Barnes. “But this suggests that relatively simple lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity and quitting smoking could have a dramatic impact on the number of Alzheimer’s cases over time.”
Talk to your mother about the factors that might be contributing to her risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Encourage her to discuss these with her doctor.
If your mom needs help around her home so she can focus more on her health, why not consider the local Home Instead Senior Care® office. CAREGiversSM are screened, trained, bonded and insured and prepared to assist older adults like your mother with companionship and non-medical services such as meal preparation and light housekeeping.
For more information or to get answers to your questions, please contact your Home Instead Senior Care office serving The Greater Boise, Idaho area. You can also reach us via email at email@example.com.