If you have a history of dementia in your family, what exactly can you do to prevent getting Alzheimer’s disease yourself? I struggle with this question and try to keep up-to-date on the latest medical news on the subject since my mother died from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease two years ago. I just read an interesting article about Trudie Styler in the London Evening Standard that helped to substantiate my own thoughts on prevention. Turns out that Trudie Styler’s mother died from Alzheimer’s disease also at age 60 after being diagnosed at the early age of 54, leaving Trudie with the same question nagging her continually, “What can I do to prevent getting Alzheimer’s disease?” Here is what Trudie herself said in this article about her mother and the looming threat of Alzheimer’s:
She never met her grandchildren. I’m very traumatised by my mother’s early death. I have to say to myself, ‘What can I do to circumvent Alzheimer’s?’ Unlike cancer, there’s really not a lot of literature out there.
Trudie’s answer is physical and mental fitness along with eating healthy food. I admit I probably don’t eat as healthy as Ms. Styler, but I do avoid highly processed foods and limit my sugar intake. I agree completely about the importance of physical fitness and exercise religiously three to four times a week while maintaining an active lifestyle. My personal plan of attack also includes vitamins and supplements, and lots of them; I gobble them daily like a kid eating candy, changing and switching the doses and types based on each new study and recommendation. My most recent addition has been folic acid.
Only time will tell if these strategies are effective for any of us, and after all is said and done there are still variables completely out of our control. But at least it feels good to maintain positive lifestyle modifications that are also good for our overall health and well-being. Staying mentally acute by learning new things, exercising regularly and eating healthy will provide lots of other benefits in our lives as well.
What about you? If dementia runs in your family, what are you doing to stack the cards in your favor?
Photo and quote courtesy of London Evening Standard