September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and its theme “Remember Me” seems especially fitting. The Alzheimer’s Disease International is encouraging everyone to know its symptoms and to remember those currently living with Alzheimer’s or who have passed on with it.
Knowing the risk factors you can change to reduce your risk — or that of someone you care about — fits with this theme.
A recent report indicates there are 9 risk factors for Alzheimer’s that are modifiable. That means they can be changed, so the risk of Alzheimer’s may be reduced. The study does not show cause and effect, just an association with these risk factors and Alzheimer’s. That’s the nature of this study, and hopefully it will encourage other studies.
Many of these risk factors involve lifestyle changes, and reducing them can also lower the risk of other diseases and conditions.
So what are they?
- Hyperhomocystinemia. Yea, that’s a long medical term and many folks haven’t heard of it. It means elevated blood levels of homocystine, which is an amino acid. This condition can be caused by low levels of some B Vitamins, and is also associated with other conditions and diseases.
- Carotid artery atherosclerosis or narrowing, which is also a risk factor for strokes.
- High blood pressure.
- Type 2 Diabetes in Asian populations. That’s according to medical research, and may also be a risk factor in other populations.
- Low level of education. Often associated with a less healthy lifestyle.
Check with your doctor about how you can safely modify these risk factors to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in your loved ones or yourself.
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Ina Gilmore, MD
Ambassador of Caregiving at HowToLiveOnPurpose.com
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