Alzheimer’s Rate Jumps 10 Percent in Five-Year Period

According to the latest estimate by the Alzheimer’s Association, over five million older Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or other forms of dementia. It is also estimated that 19 percent of adults between the ages of 75 and 84 have AD or some other kind of dementia, and that 42 percent of adults over 85 have one of these memory-robbing conditions.

This is not an unexpected shift. The proportion of Americans over 65 continues to increase; as so many of us enjoy longer lifespans, conditions like AD and cancer are bound to rise in prevalence simply because we’ve dodged everything else. But this increasing prevalence of AD is worrisome: how will we handle the growing numbers of elderly individuals who may live years, even decades, past the point of being able to care for themselves? In my view, we’d better start preparing for this now, because it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

However: we can prevent or delay dementia with nutrition, exercise, and the right lifestyle choices. You and I, and everyone else who has not been diagnosed with dementia, have a compelling responsibility to take absolutely excellent care of our brains, starting today, so that we don’t add to the burden our children and grandchildren will shoulder a few decades from now. This is a major topic covered throughout Brighter Mind – the use of diet, nutrients, and exercise to preserve brain function for a (lengthy) lifetime. In future writings, I hope to fill you in on other methods for keeping your brain alive and kicking well into your 80, including mental exercises and community involvement. Use it or lose it!

One small example of research that shows the huge effect of diet on AD risk: a study called the Kame Project looked at juice consumption in more than 1,500 Japanese-American men and women. The researchers found that drinking fruit and vegetable juices at least three times weekly may reduce risk of AD by as much as 75 percent! They attribute these protective effects to the juice’s content of polyphenol antioxidants, nutrients that naturally occur in fruits and veggies. These compounds are believed to maintain  open, strong blood vessels and to help prevent Alzheimer’s plaque formation.

I strongly encourage you to read what I’ve written on this topic in Brighter Mind. It’s all solidly supported by scientific research, and it could make the difference between mental sharpness and independence or loss of memory and need for full-time care once you hit those so-called “golden years.” And this advice doesn’t only apply to those who are young when they read this – anyone of any age can benefit.

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