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Alzheimer’s and Aging – Why Our Brains Go Down the Drain with Age

Posted Jan 25 2010 8:31am

This following is a guest post by Shannon Wills, who writes on the topic of Physical Therapist Assistant Schools . She welcomes your comments at her email: shannonwills23@gmail.com.

Many of you are familiar with the horrifying statistics regarding Alzheimer’s Disease:

· Over 5.2 million Americans are affected and the number is expected to climb as high as 7.7 million by the year 2030.

· It cannot be diagnosed conclusively, in fact, only in an autopsy when the brain is directly examined can the neurological tangles and the amyloid plaques that cause this disease be detected. While living, all a doctor can do is diagnose the probable disease based on behavioral changes.

· Although it generally affects people over the age of 65, there have been cases where 30 and 40-year-olds lose their minds to this progressive neurologic disease. Age is not a barrier to the onset of Alzheimer’s.

· And worst of all, there is no cure at all.

It’s a frightening prospect to have to live with Alzheimer’s disease for the rest of our lives; we know exactly what’s going to happen as the disease progresses and as we grow older – we slowly start to lose our mental faculties, and finally, are reduced to vegetables who must be provided with palliative and hospice care till we breathe our last breath.

Is there any way to prevent the onset of this terrible disease? We know Alzheimer’s is caused by the build-up of deposits of the protein beta-amyloid in the brain and neurological tangles, and although scientists and researchers are working on ways to detect this disease early on, there is still nothing concrete in the way of disease prevention or management.

Studies have suggested that race plays an important role in determining who is most susceptible to this disease – African Americans and Hispanics are supposedly more prone. While no one knows why the incidence of this disease is high in these populations, there is speculation that it may be because:

· African Americans are more prone to vascular diseases like high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and this puts them at risk for Alzheimer’s.

· Relatives of people who have Alzheimer’s are at a higher risk for the disease themselves.

· Those who are economically disadvantaged don’t always have easy access to healthcare or quality healthcare, which means that the disease is not screened early and therefore treated accordingly.

· Most baby boomers in the African American and Hispanic communities are wary of doctors and drugs.

It has been found that Asians are less prone to Alzheimer’s because they are tea drinkers, or more specifically, because they gain the benefits of green tea which is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids and which protect the brain from free radical damage.

So will eating the right foods keep Alzheimer’s at bay? Although there is no conclusive evidence to prove this theory, in general, keeping your body and mind fit and healthy is a great way to prevent the onset of mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Eat foods that are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, exercise your body and mind regularly, and stay busy as long as you live to fight this disease and keep it away. (Editor’s Note: Shannon reiterates what I have been preaching in this blog. Self-responsibility, taking care of yourself, is the ultimate healing solution in our lives. Thanks Shannon.

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