I ran across this headline today:
"Alzheimer's numbers to triple by 2050"
What's particularly scary is that the numbers are already pretty big and we're nowhere near a cure (that I know of, anyway).
Yes, there are drugs (five, to be exact) that the FDA has approved to treat Alzheimer's. But doctors often given them knowing that they won't have an affect (because the Alzheimer's has progressed too far); but they want the families to feel like they're trying everything possible.
So if we don't want to become one of the 13.8 million who develop Alzheimer's, what can we do?
1. Report early symptoms and family history to your doctor to get an early diagnosis. There are some drugs in the trial stages that may be able to help slow the process if given in the early onset of the disease.
2. Exercise. A study of more than 19,000 people found that those who were most fit in their late 40s were 36% less likely to develop dementia in their 70s and 80s.
3. Increase your omega-3 intake. Studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids (like those found in fish and nuts) - are associated with lower levels of beta-amyloid protein, which is linked to Alzheimer's.
4. Go through one-on-one brain training. Far more intensive than video games or crossword puzzles, personal cognitive skills training uses customized programs to strengthen brain skills like short-term and long-term memory, processing speed and attention. By creating new and stronger connections in your brain, you can actually increase your cognitive reserve to help delay the onset of age-related cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer's.