Reader Letter: Lifestyle can stave off Alzheimer’s
- Credit: Archant
One reader says lifestyle factors in to reducing the chances of developing Alzheimer's. What do you think?
Tragically with Alzheimer's disease and so-called dementia the original person who may be as young as 40 disappears and fades, to be replaced by a 'shell' of their former self. Fortunately there are 'remedies' and this common insidious affliction can be staved off.
A reliable report on research indicates that there are seven lifestyle factors in middle age (remember we have an ageing population). The factors include overweight obesity, lack of exercise (often overrated), moderate weekly exercise recommended, high (not good cholesterol) (there is 'good' necessary cholesterol), raised blood sugar levels as in diabetes now affecting seven million Britons adversely, raised blood pressure hypertension, and tobacco misuse smoking.
A body mass index (BMI) of less than 25 is recommended, eating fish twice a week and a Mediterranean diet highly recommended, 45 minutes walking three times a week minimum exercise although 10 minutes daily is sufficient, cholesterol levels should be less than 200 milligrams per decilitre, blood sugar recommended level not less than 100 milligrams per decilitre, blood pressure should be less than 120/80 mmHg, abstain from smoking essential, moderate alcohol intake recommended.
With each of these anomalous factors 'out of kilter' the chances of serious mental deterioration including memory loss, Alzheimer's disease and 'dementia' (is there a better term, dementia implies 'demented', 'madness') increases significantly.
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The condition is not as inevitable as some 'experts' suggest but can be remedied: a lighter lifestyle including fun, diversion, variety, fresh air. There is a wealth of information indicating what is good for the heart — circulation is also good for the brain. Neuroplasticity, nerve regeneration means that the brain can recover.
I write as former lecturer in health and handicap studies, former nurse to older people and graduate nutritionist.
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