Tag: Alzheimer’s progression

Can Lifestyle Changes Affect the Onset or Progress of Alzheimer’s Disease?

”Dementia is not a condition that’s ever going to be such that a single drug can be considered a cure for the illness,” said Professor Lon Schneider, co-author of the Lancet Report presented at the 2017 Alzheimer’s Assoc. International Conference. Alzheimer’s is now thought to be a disease like Cancer or heart disease, which also can’t be prevented or cured by a single drug. Thus, over the past decade, scientists and doctors are increasingly studying and testing the results of how controllable lifestyle changes made early in life, before the onset of the disease, or even after a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s could affect the severity and progression of any type of dementia. The Lancet Report also boldly claimed that “up to one-third of the world’s dementia cases could be prevented by certain lifestyle changes.” The report has met with some opposition, but it surely can’t hurt to be aware of the findings and to try to attempt as many of the changes as we and/or our loved ones are able to make. Professor Schneider added: “The potential magnitude of the effect on dementia of reducing these risk factors is larger than we could ever imagine the effect that current, experimental medications could have. Mitigating risk factors provides us a powerful way to reduce the global burden of dementia.” Nine Lifestyle Risk Factors The report identifies nine lifestyle risk factors for Alzheimer’s over a person’s life span that can have an accumulating effect, including: Childhood before Age 15: years of education Middle Age: hypertension, hearing loss and obesity Late Life: a smoking, depression, physical inactivity, social isolation and diabetes The Lancet team considered each factor separately and also looked at how they related to one another to calculate how much modification of each could potentially affect a person’s dementia risk.

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Alzheimer’s Progression: Is It Possible to Predict?

Experts estimate that specialized physicians now have the tools to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease with more than 90 percent accuracy. That fact sent me in search of data on symptoms, and when and in what order they are likely to occur after diagnosis. About 15 months ago, my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and I continue to struggle with 1) what about his behavior is symptomatic of the disease, 2) if what I observe will be consistent behavior (Can I count on what he can and cannot do all the time), and 3) what might be just normal aging behavior for someone his age (78). The short answer: Well….it appears that the short answer to all 3 of my dilemmas is “You can’t be sure.” Because Alzheimer’s affects people in different ways, each person will experience symptoms – or progress through Alzheimer’s stages – differently. Even the definition of “stages” seems a little vague. Some sources listed 3 stages of progression through the disease, while others came up with 7. And even then the reader is warned that symptoms might overlap or even not occur in that particular order. While designating Stages of Alzheimer’s can give a general forecast of what to expect, progression varies greatly from person to person and a division into Stages only provides a general guide. Another challenge: People with possible warning signs of Alzheimer’s may find it hard to recognize they have a problem and may resist following up on their symptoms. Signs of dementia may be more obvious to family members or friends. And memory loss might not be the first symptom that shows up. My husband’s earliest and most consistent symptoms involve what some experts call “executive function,” or the lack of ability to process a string of instructions or to initiate and plan

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