Saturday, January 19, 2013
Blog 59: 212% Reduced Risk of Getting Alzheimer's/Dementia?
Since I have the misfortune of having both of my parents fall victim to a brain disease, I have been doing everything I can to try to prevent this from happening to me. Ever since my dad’s diagnosis of LBD, I have pretty much been doing research into what measures I can take, and my family can take, to try to delay or even prevent this disease from happening to us. Then when my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, I really became concerned, and decided that whatever I was doing before, I needed to step up my game and do even more.
When doing research, it seems the more I read, the more educated I become, and the more I think about it, and the more I do something about it. Some of my research concerns me, but then I will also read articles that actually ease my mind. There can be a hereditary factor, but many times that is not the case. Often people will get it when there is no family history. Early-onset dementia is more of a concern as far as the hereditary factor, and that is not the case in my family. Mostly, I will put the fear out of my mind and not think about it so much…that is, until another article pops up, or I read a blog, or something brings it to my attention again.
I don’t want to get into specifics or quote word for word on what I’ve found through reading a library full of articles, but I will say this. There’s some pretty good indications that exercising your brain by learning new skills, playing a musical instrument, playing word and board games, reading, writing, and being socially active, etc., can cut your risk of developing dementia by 47%; aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week can lower your risk by 40%; consuming 3-5 cups of coffee a day can reduce risk by 65%; eating fish high in Omega-3’s once a week can reduce risk by 60%; Vitamins C, E, and B-12 can have protective measures against dementia; and since I have high blood pressure (which sucks), I’ve learned that certain blood pressure medications can have a profound effect on delaying or preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia (which is good); also, red wine and dark chocolate can reduce the risk, and that’s awesome for me because I love both; and of course, eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables has shown a significant impact in reducing dementia risk.
Much has been said about the benefits of organic extra-virgin coconut oil, and I have recently introduced that to my diet. It has a lot of benefits for the brain, and I love the taste of coconut so how can I go wrong with that? I have cut way back on sugar and no longer consume anything with aspartame. It's so bad for you! My new soda of choice is Zevia, which is made with stevia, a natural sweetener. I bought a Nutribullet, and have been making nutritious antioxidant drinks everyday. I have a plan for my health and I’m sticking with it.
I do all of the things listed above because I want to be healthy and be around for a long time. I am active, I hike regularly, I work out at the gym and do zumba dancing, I have great friends who make me laugh and are fun to be around, my three kids are great and very supportive of me, I volunteer a couple of times a week, I travel, which is something I love to do, I spend time with my little grandchildren who make me feel so special and loved, and I have eliminated the drama in my life, so I have a lot less stress. I am working on starting a new project and I will tell you all about that at a later time. It gives me something to look forward to. The only thing I am missing is my relationship with some of my sisters, and of course, the reality of what is happening to my mom is always on my mind. I will talk more about what is going on with all of that in an upcoming post. At least for the time being, I am keeping my chin up and trying to be as positive and hopeful as I can. I am in a pretty good place right now.
For those who say ‘phooey’, nothing can stop Alzheimer’s or dementia, I say this… if what I am doing has the possibility of delaying or preventing it, I’m going to do it! Anyone who is in my shoes would say and do the same thing.
Here’s my conclusion: I added up all of those percentages above and it puts me at 212% reduced risk of getting Alzheimer's or dementia. Cool! True or not, that’s what I’m going with, because it sure beats the alternative. J