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.


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.


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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Protect Against Coronavirus: Doing our Part to Help you

In these difficult times we want to share with you some brief bullet-points about Sharlin Health and Neurology and COVID-19:
  • First and foremost, we want you to know that the safety and well-being of each and every one of you is number one importance to us. If you have a chronic lung condition or another health reason that would make you susceptible to the more severe effects of the coronavirus, we want you to stay at home.
  • Sharlin Health and Neurology is considered an “essential” business because we provide critically needed care to those with neurological disease in our community. Despite the threat of the coronavirus conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, seizures, migraine, MS, and other neurological diseases do not go away. We are a privately-owned neurology practice here to serve our community.
  • We follow all CDC guidelines for protection against the dissemination of coronavirus. There have not been any known cases of coronavirus in our office, among staff and those customers who have entered our door. 
  • We have six available exam rooms in our clinic and every effort will be made to prevent patients from having to stay in our waiting room. We can move you quickly from the reception desk to a private exam room, and have the doctor meet you there.
  • If you are sequestered at home, it may be possible to visit with you by telemedicine. We have the capability of using a telemedicine portal though the smart phone or computer that is HIPAA compliant and allows us to see you and speak with you. Alternatively, we can speak by telephone. Please ask our receptionist.
  • If you do come to our clinic for a doctor visit or a need a test please do not touch any surfaces you can avoid touching, and come by yourself or – if you do need to have someone with you – have them bring you to the door and we will help you from that point. If they wait in their vehicle, we can call them when you are finished.
  • If you have had contact with a person with known or suspected COVID-19, have had contact with a person coughing or with fever in the past 14 days, or you yourself have a fever, cough, or runny nose in the past 14 days, please let us know and we will either reschedule you or schedule you a telemedicine visit. 

If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 please reach out to your nearest medical center. We will not be testing patients at Sharlin Health and Neurology. 

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Alzheimer's DiseaseNeurologist Dr. Ken Sharlin