Alzheimer’s disease is frightening for two reasons; firstly, we don’t know very much about it. Here’s a disease affecting 5.3 million Americans over the age of 65 and there’s almost no evidence pointing to causes of Alzheimer’s; while there is a strong link to genetics, even this is somewhat shrouded in mystery. The second reason Alzheimer’s is scary is because of what it does to us. The loss of short term and then deeper rooted memories is a terrifying thought for anyone.
Although we don’t know the exact cause of Alzheimer’s,we do have some clues as to what can raise and lower the risk of being diagnosed with this life altering illness. For a condition with no cure and very little treatment, prevention becomes the most important defense against it. Here’s what you need to do, and stop doing, to protect yourself.
Cut Down on Sugar
There is believed to be a link between the abuse of sugar and Alzheimer’s. As most of us know, sugar is one of those things you know you should be cutting down on but can’t; a big reason for this is that your taste buds love the stuff. When you eat sugar, your brain goes a little crazy, releasing a wave of chemicals, like dopamine, to make you feel good.
Too much sugar on a regular basis, however, can have serious consequences. Over time, your body begins resisting insulin which, among other things, is used to help different parts of the brain communicate. Heavy doses of sugar also cause spikes in blood pressure, leading to inflammation and possible blood vessel damage in the brain. Avoid sugary foods and refined carbohydrates like pasta, rice and white flour to keep your sugar intake in check.