Neurologist’s Most Important Tips To Helping Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

 In Alzheimer's Disease, Women's Health

Want To Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

In my previous blog posts I’ve listed for you some important aspects of why women are at increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease from a genetic and hormonal viewpoint, so let’s talk about some of the things that women can do, in particular, although everyone should be focusing on some of these things, in general.

There are social factors that play a role in a woman’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease that include higher educational levels and higher occupational attainment.

So that means, if you go as far as you can go with your education, and advance as far as you can with your occupation, say a skilled worker versus an unskilled worker, you can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. So, if that is right for you, or if that is right for your children and your teenagers entering college, encourage them to further their education as far as possible, and exceed in their occupation as far as possible.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy, particularly with bioidentical hormones, may help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease, particularly if it’s initiated after early or premature menopause caused by oophorectomy or around the time of biological menopause. It’s less clear if hormone replacement therapy initiated far later in life, in women in their, say, 70s or 80s who may be developing a decline in memory function pointing toward Alzheimer’s disease, can benefit from hormone replacement therapy.

Exercise

We talked about brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Well, the most potent stimulant of this hormone is exercise. Exercise has not only an affect on this hormone, but it’s particularly important that exercise and fitness be pursued within a certain window of opportunity. What we know is that the developing brain, particularly, benefits from exercise, so we need to encourage our teenagers, our women, and our men to exercise from an early age to adopt that habit. Exercise continued through one’s 20s and 30s continues to benefit and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Cigarette Smoking and Alcohol Use

particularly in combination… No one should be cigarette smoking of course, but cigarette smoking in combination with heavy alcohol use places women at a greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Pollutants

And, finally, it’s not just inhaling the pollutants associated with cigarette smoke, but inhaling pollution in general, that coming from automobiles and power plants, appears to significantly raise a woman’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly if she has the ApoE4 gene.

So, we need to work on breathing clean air, exercising, minding our hormones. And, by the way, that includes the stress hormone, cortisol, because there’s a particular interaction between estrogen and those stress hormones. So, not only do we need to work hard to excel in our education, but we need to take downtime to rest the brain and the body.

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Alzheimer's DiseaseNeurologist Dr. Ken Sharlin