Alzheimer’s Avoidable?

Angie Szumlinski
May 17, 2022
Man sitting on edge of bed looking sad

As providers, you know the challenges of caring for residents living with memory loss, whether it is a blanket diagnosis of “dementia” or a specific diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, it is devastating for both the resident and the family. Watching loved ones decline to the point of not recognizing their own children can cause frustration and such a huge sense of loss that we have to wonder “why”? Why can’t we figure this out before someone becomes completely debilitated?

Sadly, there are many thoughts on the subject and many medications on the market, but rarely if ever, do I hear of success stories. So, I read with interest, an article identifying 8 modifiable risk factors that are linked to more than one in three cases of Alzheimer’s disease. The risk factors include:

  • Midlife obesity
  • Midlife hypertension
  • Physical inactivity
  • Depression
  • Smoking
  • Low education
  • Diabetes
  • Hearing loss

It appears that what we do in midlife could possibly have an impact on whether we become a victim of Alzheimer’s or other related dementias. That said, JAMA Neurology reviewed the study and concluded that risk factors have changed over the past decade and differ based on sex and race and ethnicity.

Hmmm, back to the drawing board? Maybe not, take a look at the risk factors above. Are these modifiable for you? Probably! Think about it, losing 10 pounds of unwanted weight through dietary awareness and physical activity could likely lower your blood pressure and maybe improve your mood! Think about it, right there you have addressed 4 of the 8 modifiable risk factors. I won’t get on my soap box about smoking, however, there are many effective, proven ways to quit WHEN you WANT to quit, risk factor 5! Play the odds, 5 out of 8 are pretty good odds, take a chance, it could change your future! Stay well and stay informed!

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