How to Keep Alzheimer’s Disease From Striking You


Alzheimer’s usually takes over a person’s life very slowly. You may misplace things or forget appointments, grope for words, or find that you suddenly can’t balance your checkbook. In the later stages of the disease, you may be unable to care for yourself at all. But you’re more likely to die from other causes before you reach the more serious stages of this disease. Doctors won’t know if you actually have Alzheimer’s unless they perform an autop­sy and find the tell-tale plaques and tangles.

Although Alzheimer’s has no cure as yet, promising research is sure to unlock the mystery of this disease soon. In the meantime, take advantage of the knowledge we do have to keep this disease from striking you.

Alzheimer Disease

  • Find brain protection in your medicine cabinet. Researchers study the people most likely to get Alzheimer’s for clues to curing this disease. They also notice who is least likely to get it, such as people with rheumatoid arthritis. Since arthritis sufferers usually take daily doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin and ibuprofen, researchers guess those drugs might protect them from Alzheimer’s. They think brain inflammation may cause the plaques found in Alzheimer sufferers, and anti-inflammatories protect the brain from developing these plaques.
  • Go with gingko. The leaves of the gingko tree may help shade you from Alzheimer’s. Extracts made from this tree have been used for centuries for a variety of ailments, including brain problems. Research finds that gingko increases blood flow, and more blood flow to your brain may help make it work better. At least one scientific study found that symptoms improved significantly in people with Alzheimer’s who took 240 mg of gingko daily.
  • Puzzle over it. If you love to work crossword puz­zles or fit the pieces of a jigsaw into place, you may be less likely to get Alzheimer’s. Whenever you learn something new or exercise your brain, your brain cells make new connections. Studies show that the more connections you have, the less likely you are to get this disease. Of course, you don’t have to stick to puzzles; any type of mental exercise will create and strengthen those connections.
  • Education counts. Education may help you suc­ceed financially by making it easier to get a well-paying job. Education may also help you avoid Alzheimer’s, probably because of the extra connec­tions it creates between brain cells. If you didn’t finish eighth grade, you’re twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s as those who have more education. If you also work at an unchallenging job, you’re three times more likely to develop the disease.
  • Connect emotionally. Brain cell connections play an important role in Alzheimer’s. Emotional con­nections may do the same. A strong relationship with your spouse may not prevent you from devel­oping Alzheimer’s, but it may make it less severe, and maybe even help you live longer. It also may keep you out of a nursing home. Studies find you’re less likely to be institutionalized if your spouse cares for you, rather than a nurse or other relative. Without positive emotional support, many Alzheimer’s sufferers may simply give up and let the disease take over.
  • Add some antioxidants. Getting plenty of antioxi­dants in your diet, like vitamins A and C, may help protect you from Alzheimer’s. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which are unstable molecules in your body that damage your cells. Research finds that people with Alzheimer’s have taken in fewer antioxidants in their lifetimes than people without the disease.

  • Replace your estrogen. Many women decide to use estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) to keep the symptoms of menopause at bay. However, researchers have discovered that ERT may do more for you than just cool down your hot flash­es. It may help prevent Alzheimer’s from stealing your memories. One study found that only 2.7 percent of the women who took estrogen developed Alzheimer’s compared with 8.4 percent of those who didn’t.

Everyone forgets things once in a while, and being a bit absent-minded does not mean you have a serious condition. Although aging involves some normal slowing down, studies have shown your brain can remain as sharp and creative as a 25-year-old’s if you keep it active and challenged. A little mental workout each day is all it takes to keep you alert and fit well into your golden years.

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About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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