Today, more than five million people in America are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and the number is expected to soar with the aging of the baby boomers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that since 1999, the death rate from Alzheimer’s has risen by 55 percent.
People with Alzheimer’s aren’t the only ones affected by the disease. Said former CDC acting director Dr. Anne Schuchat, “As the number of older Americans with Alzheimer’s disease rises, more family members are taking on the emotionally and physically challenging role of caregiver than ever before. These families need and deserve our support.”
Scientists continue to search for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But until a cure is found, prevention strategies are the best hope. Can we lower our own risk? Some risk factors are beyond our control—most notably, certain genes and the greatest risk factor, age.
But according to the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), there are other risk factors that we can do something about. They recently noted nine factors which account for more than 50 percent of the risk:
- High blood pressure
- Kidney problems
- Alcohol and tobacco use
- High cholesterol
- Coronary heart disease
- Inactive lifestyle
- Poor diet
We can lower our personal risk by managing our health conditions, getting plenty of physical and mental exercise, eating a healthy diet, spending time with others, and reducing stress. Early detection is also important, allowing for treatments that could slow the progression of the disease.
These lifestyle improvements are better for our all-around health, as well. Ironically, notes the CDC, as the death rate from heart disease, cancer, stroke and other conditions lowers, more people will live long enough to develop Alzheimer’s disease. So care and support for these patients will be an ever-growing need.
And, says the CDC’s Christopher Taylor, Ph.D., “As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, caregiving becomes very important. Caregivers and patients can benefit from programs that include education about Alzheimer’s disease, how to take care of themselves and their loved one, and case management to lessen the burden of care. Supportive interventions can lessen the burden for caregivers and improve the quality of care for people with Alzheimer’s disease.”
Alden offers a holistic approach to quality care and services for individuals with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other memory care needs. At Alden, we provide innovative memory care. Use our online search tool to find a location near you.
Source: IlluminAge reporting on studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Geriatrics Society
The information in this article is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your memory or your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.