June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

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Here are two simple ways that you can participate in Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month and show your support for both caregivers patients:end_alz(3)

  • Help with awareness by changing your facebook profile photo to the “END ALZ” photo.  It is a small gesture that will help show your support and spread the word.
  • Sign up for The Longest Day Event on June 21st, 2014.  The idea is to gather a team and spend the day doing one of your favorite activities.  Although each team is asked to raise money for Alzheimer’s research, the main point of the event is to do something positive with people you enjoy so that you remember that every moment counts.
Just how widespread is Alzheimer’s?
  • Approximately 5.2 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s
  • Every 67 seconds someone in the US develops Alzheimer’s
  • Almost 2/3 of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women.  In fact, women are almost twice as likely to get Alzheimer’s as breast cancer.
  • Based on the current rate of new cases, it is estimated that by the year 2050, up to 16 million people will have Alzheimer’s
  • Over the past ten years the rate of death for every major chronic disease besides Alzheimer’s has dropped.  Meanwhile the number of deaths due to Alzheimer’s has increase by 68%.
  • Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
What we do know about the causes of Alzheimer’s?

Although we have made great strides in the fields of science and medicine, the brain still remains a mystery.  Researchers still don’t know what exactly causes Alzheimer’s, but among those who have died from the disease Beta_amyloidthere are “two types of abnormalities that are considered hallmarks:”

  1. A build-up of plaque, better known as the protein beta-amyloid.  This plaque build-up destroys brain calls and interrupts the ability for cells to communicate with one another.
  2. Another protein known as tau is responsible for causing abnormal twisting and tangling of .

The real problem is that scientists have yet to pinpoint exactly what causes these proteins to misbehave and get tangled up.

There are some risk factors to be aware of:

Genetics  – Although it only plays a significant role in acquiring Alzheimer’s in 5% of the population.

Gender – Because women tend to live longer, they are at a greater risk for getting Alzheimer’s.

Lifestyle – You have heard it before.  As much as science continues to make new discoveries and adjust theories, there are certain facts that we know to be true.  Eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep and exercise and avoiding alcohol and cigarettes will protect your health and significantly reduce your risk of suffering from chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

New Findings:

low-fat2Recent studies are concluding that the popularity a low fat diet is actually harming our brains and causing the increase in the number of Alzheimer’s cases.  The fact is that the brain is full of fatty tissue and needs a certain amount of dietary fat to thrive.  By switching to low fat and high sugar diets, we are actually depriving our brains of their main source of nutrients.  To read more about the relationship between high blood sugar, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, click here.

 

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