Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disease that is linked to genetics and old age. It is a progressive form of dementia which is a broader term used for many brain-related diseases like memory loss, weakened thinking capacity, and the consequent behavioral and biological issues. Dementia can be either genetic or a result of external brain damage. However, Alzheimer’s is a specific memory loss disease that can be chronic and progressive once it takes off.
People diagnosed with dementia have a 60-80% chance of it being converted into Alzheimer’s. Most cases are severe after the age of 65 if they are diagnosed at this age as the disease has already been damaging the brain. If it is diagnosed before this age, then it is called early-onset Alzheimer’s which usually requires extensive care so that its progression could be made a bit slower. However, there is no cure for this disease, although prevention and a healthy lifestyle can make its effects less damaging.
Alzheimer’s is a chronic disease that is caused by many factors. These are the risk factors that increase the chances of acquiring this disease. They include:
Genetics plays an important role in determining the chances of Alzheimer’s in a person. This is predicted through their genetic information which is responsible for such degenerative diseases. Genetics is more powerful when it comes to degenerative diseases like osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, cancer, cystic fibrosis, nervous system diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), etc.
Age is the second most effective risk factor which makes the brain weak. Mostly, people above the age of 65 are at a higher risk for Alzheimer’s especially if they have been living with a depressive lifestyle or a traumatizing effect on their brains. In some cases, severe trauma or deep depression in the youth can cause long-term effects like Alzheimer’s in old age.
- Family history
Although Alzheimer’s is not a contagious disease it is highly likely that if any of the immediate family members especially a blood relation has it, your chances of acquiring it also increase manifold. However, this is not the case for every member of the family as the genetic material also plays a part in this which can be different for everyone.
- External injury to the brain
As Alzheimer’s is a progressive form of dementia therefore it can be a result of an external brain injury. In such cases, there is an excessive buildup of protein in and around the brain which blocks many functions of the brain including memory, thinking, nervous messaging and responding, etc. One of the proteins is amyloid which is responsible for this buildup, another is tau which disturbs the functioning of the brain cells.
As there is no permanent cure for Alzheimer’s, therefore only prevention can be made possible from an early age. If there is an apparent family history of this disease, then one should practice a healthy lifestyle for staying mentally strong in old age to avoid acquiring this disease.
There are some ways of adopting a healthy lifestyle from an early age such as:
- No smoking
- No drinking
- Regular physical exercise
- More vegan diet than high protein meat
- Consuming a diet with more antioxidant nutrients
- Practicing cognitive training games and exercises like chess
- An active social life with positive communication
- Healthy hobbies
- Practicing self-control and patience as aggression worsens the brain functions
- Focusing on one task at a time to strengthen concentration
- Meditation and conscious living
These are some of the preventive measures that can decrease the chances of Alzheimer’s or lower the risk factors and progression pace in case of early detection. Only these measures can make your life easier as this disease does not have a permanent cure. Thus, with a healthy body, mental wellness, and medication, the effects of Alzheimer’s can be abated.