Alzheimer’s disease: Prevention is the only option


Awareness and Prevention Series | Guest post by Dr Farhan Subhani

The Alzheimer’s disease was firstly explained in 1906 by Alois Alzheimer, a German doctor. The basic pathology was also defined by him.

It is a loss of memory and executive functions of brain which mostly affect elderly but patients in early 40s are also known in good number. Every loss of memory case is not of Alzheimer’s. Loss of memory could be reversible because it has almost 40 different possible causes and a few are curable.

In spite of an extensive research over a century, neither prevention nor disease modification nor cure for this disease is possible. A definitive diagnosis is also a hard task in living patients. Only after the death of patient, brain tissue examination under the microscope could definitely diagnose the disease.

Regarding prevention, it is worth knowing the fact that scientific community is convinced that it is our early 30s of life which determine who will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. In most cases, it is not an overnight event. Only 10% cases are familial based on the transmission of disease on specific genes in successive generations.

For diseases for which we do not have disease modification or cure, the best option is prevention.

How could we modify our lifestyle to be less prone to Alzheimer’s disease?

Here are a few lifestyle changes that could help:

  • Use or lose: It is applicable to most body organs. So having good mental activity in life makes Alzheimer’s disease less prevalent. Doctors, engineers, lawyers, religious scholars and other highly educated people are less prone to develop.
  • Stress-free lifestyle: Mental stress, chronic depression, anxiety and few other mental disorders increases the risk for AD manifold. Most important is the presence of chronic depression. If it is present, it should be treated properly because if chronic depression will change into major depression then loss of memory would be the part. In major depression and Alzheimer’s disease, the most affected area of brain is common and depression is a major risk and consequence of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Diabetes: If someone has diabetes, then its good control is recommended to decrease the chances of Alzheimer’s disease. If through oral medication, diabetes is not under control then use of insulin is highly recommended.
  • Healthy diet: If good proportion of diet would comprise of vegetables and fruits (at least on third to half) then risk of Alzheimer’s will decrease manifold. This dietary modification could also prevention of major cancers, heart disease or even stroke.
  • Barbecue: It is worth mentioning that the enjoyable taste for barbecue increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, stomach cancer and stroke. Instead of barbecue, prefer the steam roast and other available dishes of meat.
  • Head trauma: Repeated head trauma is a known risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Professional footballers, boxers and wrestlers suffer in early age and have worse course of disease.
  • Stroke: In almost every patient who suffers from major stroke, development of Alzheimer’s disease is definite to occur within weeks to months. So, here the basic desirable is the prevention of stroke.
  • Female gender: Females suffer from Alzheimer’s disease almost double than men after menopause in spite of the fact that estrogen, a female sex hormone, has protective role against Alzheimer’s disease. So, for females, lifestyle modifications are very important.

Who are protected: One autoimmune disorder which quite common is protective against Alzheimer’s disease. This disorder is rheumatoid arthritis. Drugs are on the way to mimic the pathology of rheumatoid arthritis so patients could be benefited with Alzheimer’s disease.

Farhan Subhani

Dr. Farhan Subhani is a medical doctor. Besides clinical activities, he is active for the drug development to make preventable few common neurological disorders especially Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis and major cardiovascular disorders.

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