Alzheimer’s disease is the most devastating, debilitating, and heartbreaking disease that I know of. It’s a mind-stealing disease that affects as many as 5 million Americans. People afflicted with the disease live through the fear and terror of knowing they are losing their thoughts and memories. Their family and friends are faced with the heart retching fact that they are helpless to do anything but watch. Oh, they can support and caretake the infected. But they cannot stop the ravaging of the mind.
Until now. There is something you can do!
It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t first explain what Alzheimer’s is. It can start years before anyone notices and it slowly progresses until the person or loved ones start to notice something is amiss. It can start with not be able to recall recent people you met or conversations you’ve had. Maybe you researched some topic to learn a new skill but you aren’t able to retain that new information very easily. Our most recent experiences fail to be filed away for safe keeping. Then the disease progresses, traveling through and destroying our memories like a delete button going backward in time. It can start to change our behavior, skills, and attitude. We can start to believe things that aren’t true. We become disorientated. We lose the ability to carry on a conversation and may become suspicious of family and friends. Eventually, we find it difficult to pronounce words, swallow, walk, or even remember how to roll over.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death and once diagnosed the average life expectancy is eight to ten years. That’s average, it can be anywhere from three to twenty years. But the person was developing the disease a long time before it was diagnosed. They had it for years as they or their family slowly started to wonder if there was a problem.
Scientists are working on solving the problem and for years they believed they had it figured out. They found plaques, or protein fragment deposits built up between the nerves in the brain. And they found what they call tangles, which consist of a different protein with twisted fibers. These two culprits were found inside cells in the brain. And so scientist researched and tested for years on this theory.
As all theories, it is a possible belief, not a fact. This theory was the best they had.
The problem was with the testing. It all failed. They understood what was wrong, but nothing they tried worked as it should have, and no one got better, in fact, many got worse.
Currently, the best medication we have is Aricept. As the disease progresses, the brain loses more and more of a needed neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Aricept blocks the enzyme that causes the loss of acetylcholine. The sad part is that this helps slow the symptoms down but does not block the progression of the disease. Not to mention that the side effects can worsen the quality of life.
Now, it turns out there are three main subtypes of Alzheimer’s and each one takes a different treatment. This explains why scientist had such a difficult time finding a solution, they didn’t realize there was more than one type.
With this new knowledge, we can now prevent the disease if you are prone to getting it. We can even reverse it, (depending on how far advanced) if you already have it.
A test can be run to let you know if you are likely to succumb to the disease. There is a gene variant called ApoE4, and it is the largest known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. You can get this gene from either or both parents. From one parent, you increase your risk by 30%. From both parents, your risk goes up 50 – 90%. You do not have to wait for symptoms to have this test done to find out if you’re at risk. If you find you are at risk, you can prevent it by making a few lifestyle changes. Just as you are recommended to have a colonoscopy at 50 years old, you should have the gene test done as you reach 40 years old. If you do have the gene, there is treatment. It’s called ReCODE and was developed by Dale E. Bredesen, MD.
If you have the ApoE4 then there are test to find out which one of the three types of Alzheimer’s you will have. Once you know this, treatment is fairly straightforward. You fill out a medical history and work on health issues such as insulin resistance, toxins, hormone issues, inflammation, diabetes… Health issues that are stepping stones for the disease. Then there are diet choices and supplements that can be added to your daily routine, depending on your type of Alzheimer’s. Each person has to be looked at individually and a routine designed just for them and their individual needs is created. Things like exercise, stress, sleep, gut healing and brain training are all things that can help to prevent or reverse the disease. No one need ever die from this disease again.
If I told you that you could go for a 20-minute walk, take magnesium and a probiotic every day and you’d never have Alzheimer’s even though both your parents did, would you do it??? (That may not be your particular treatment plan. This is merely an example) I would hope that you would. And if the answer is yes, then you have the ability to prevent yourself and your loved ones from ever having this horrible mind-stealing disease.
I am excited to be working in this field.
I specialize in gut health and Alzheimer’s disease and I’m proud to do so.
I lost my grandmother, mother, and mother-in-law to this disease and it propelled me into research. I watched these three wonderful women lose who they were. I saw the fear in their eyes as they acknowledged what was happening to them. And I was helpless to do anything to help them. I remember my mom sitting at the kitchen table with her sewing laying in front of her. She was crying. I asked her why. She said, “I used to know how to do this.” She stared at the material and the needle and thread and cried. She had no idea what to do with it and she had been sewing every day for years, up until that day. How terrible to go through that confusion, fear, and loss with every single part of your life.
For more information on how to get tested and what to do, contact me.