For a long time, the most glaring healthcare concerns in the United States were heart disease and cancer. But in recent years, another major healthcare issue has risen to the forefront, especially in light of the growing generation of senior citizens in the United States. Alzheimer’s disease is a major concern for people across the world, in part because of the fact that there is no known cure or even an effective treatment that is known at this time. While there are experimental treatments in the making and therapies that can make life somewhat easier for Alzheimer’s disease patients, unfortunately, there is no way to stop the disease from progressing quite yet. Alzheimer’s disease is so concerning for people because there is no certain way to recognize whether or not an individual is at risk. Though certain genes can make some individuals more at risk than others, anyone can potentially develop the disease. The numbers are certainly growing. Right now, there are 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, and this number is expected to build to 14 million by 2050. While there is definitely research dedicated to discovering a treatment for Alzheimer’s patients, many are also pointing to the effectiveness of preventing the disease instead.

Alzheimer’s disease is certainly more of a risk for older people than younger people; but as there will probably be an estimated 14.1 million people aged 85 and above living in the United States by 2040, many people who are don’t classify themselves as “at risk” now may very well be sooner rather than later. Therefore, it’s important to look into how to reduce your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Understand The Links Between Smoking And Alzheimer’s Disease

While it’s probably unsurprising that Alzheimer’s disease is linked to poor general health, meaning that healthy diets and exercise can cut down on one’s risk of the disease, it may be more surprising that smoking specifically has been connected to developing symptoms. Smoking has been linked to a number of major health issues, like the aforementioned cancer and heart disease, as well as periodontitis. In fact, about 90% of people that suffer from periodontitis have been known smokers. But it’s also potentially a precursor of Alzheimer’s disease as well. Part of this could in fact be because smoking has been shown to cause something of a cognitive decline by some research, which of course can ultimately lead to Alzheimer’s disease. The issue with Alzheimer’s disease is that oftentimes, early signs of cognitive decline can remain, and over time they grow into Alzheimer’s disease.

Keep The Mind Trained

As simple as it may seem, continuing to train the brain and stimulating it can potentially reduce one’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, there has been a proposed potential connection between those with fewer years of formal education and Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Some have suggested that those with more education have a kind of cognitive reserve, which will help people a stronger resistance against the pervasiveness of Alzheimer’s disease. Of course, this could also be a simple masking technique; this is to say, those with more years of education may have a stronger ability to mask the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease for longer than those without a formal education. With that being said, those years without symptoms may be strongly appreciated. Doctors have also encouraged those suffering from Alzheimer’s to use memory games, even those found on apps, to build up their reserves. Therefore, if one cannot go back to school, understandably, they can still learn through mental games and even simply reading, thus building up that necessary reserve.

Diagnose And Treat Depression

As with Alzheimer’s disease, many people suffer from depression or depressive disorders without realizing it for quite some time. However, depression has been shown to be connected to Alzheimer’s disease. Many sufferers of depression report feeling a kind of numbness or haze, which can certainly make it more difficult for Alzheimer’s disease symptoms to be recognized in a timely manner. It can also be difficult for those suffering from depression to recall events, or even plan ahead. These symptoms can potentially linger as Alzheimer’s disease begins to set in. Therefore, it’s important for those suffering from early depression symptoms to visit a psychiatrist, be diagnosed, and ultimately receive treatment. These types of treatments often involve medication and help people sharpen their cognitive abilities as they feel more clear-minded. Of course, treatments can also involve therapy, which frequently will certain around talk and the discussion of trauma or unresolved problems. While depression often needs to be treated over the long term, it’s important for sufferers to stay up to date with it, as this can help them differentiate between symptoms of depression and symptoms of neurological problems like Alzheimer’s disease.

Recognize Familial Ties And Be Aware

There is no way to definitively reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease if it runs within an individual’s family. However, that individual can receive genetic testing that will return whether or not they have the markers that make them more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Once these markers are properly recognized, people can understand that they are more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and therefore stay vigilant regarding symptoms. They can also be aware of other risk factors, and can for example stay up to date on their learning games. While everyone should of course practice fitness routines and stimulate their minds no matter what, understanding that one carries a genetic marker for Alzheimer’s disease can simply make the issue more pressing.

Alzheimer’s disease is understandably frightening because there is simply at this time no way to definitively prevent or treat it. However, the more active steps one takes to be vigilant, the less likely they will be to unexpectedly develop the disease and be caught off guard. Furthermore, everyone should understand that as time passes, there will be more opportunities for this disease to be properly addressed by the medical community, with more options available in the future.