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Protect Your Brain from Alzheimer's Disease

Madison, Wisconsin - Alzheimer's disease can impact a person's mental and physical health and place a tremendous burden on family.

 

The most common type of dementia, Alzheimer's disease, accounts for 50 to 80 percent of dementia cases. Alzheimer's is a progressive brain disorder that destroys brain cells, leading to memory loss and deterioration in everyday function. It develops slowly, and gradually destroys a person's ability to live independently.

 

"Sadly, there is no effective treatment or cure for Alzheimer's," says Cindy Carlsson, MD, UW Health geriatrician and researcher for the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center. "Overall, it is the sixth leading cause of death in the US and the fifth leading cause of death for people 65 years of age and older."

 

Today more than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease, including an estimated 200,000 under the age of 65. By 2050, up to 16 million people will have the disease. Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging. People with memory loss symptoms should be seen by a physician early to determine if there are any other factors, including medication side effects or other treatable medical conditions.

 

"Early treatment is important for Alzheimer's disease," says Carlsson, "There is no cure, but research has determined certain medications might play a role in slowing the progression of some symptoms. Getting involved in clinical studies is the best way to help us find better ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer's."

 

For both younger and older adults, eating properly, exercise and staying active are important lifestyle choices to protect the brain.

 

Tips to Lower Your Risk

  • Walk and/or engage in other exercises several times a week
  • Keep your brain active with crossword puzzles, board games, reading, problem solving, etc.
  • Socialize with relatives and friends, or volunteer for a non-profit organization
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Follow a heart healthy diet
  • Maintain a consistent bed and rise time and limit napping to one time earlier in the day
  • Keep your blood pressure in check
  • Limit alcohol use
  • Keep stress and anxiety low
  • Have regular checkups with your doctors

Date Published: 04/01/2014

News tag(s):  neurology

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