Did you know, that abstaining from alcohol may actually increase your likelihood of cognitive decline and getting Alzheimer’s Disease?
Yes — that’s according to a 17-year study headed by Dr. Severine Sabia, and published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. [Details below.]
Have you ever walked into a room and not remembered why you went in there? Losing your memory is a terrifying thing. Even if we joke about it and call our forgetfulness “a senior moment”, memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are a real and serious matter.
Alzheimer’s is now the most dreaded disease not only because of the devastating effects it has on the Alzheimer’s patient and the patient’s entire family — but also because the cost for treating this incurable disease and caring for someone who’s afflicted with it is enough to bankrupt any family.
It isn’t just the high-profile, often terminal, diseases like cancer and AIDS that are getting expensive to treat. From the standpoint of our health care system, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease because it has become so prevalent and the cost per case has skyrocketed in recent years.
What are the chances that you or someone you care about will become afflicted with Alzheimer’s — and what can you do to prevent (or even reverse) the disease?
Here’s the sobering news: 1 out of 5 people over 65 — and 50% of people over age 85 are already afflicted with the disease (or have the disease without knowing it).
The most well-known risk factors for Alzheimer’s are:
- Advanced age
- Low scores on tests of thinking skills
- Having the ApoE4 gene (which raises the genetic risks of developing Alzheimer’s)
Cognitive Decline Risk Factors That Most People Don’t Know
1) Abstaining completely from alcohol — That’s right… NOT consuming alcohol may actually promote dementia and cause cognitive decline.
According to study findings presented at the Alzheimer’s Association 2009 International Conference, having one or two alcoholic drinks per day may help prevent dementia in the elderly. [Warning: Excessive alcohol use, however, may have the opposite effect and contribute to dementia.]
2) Slowness of mind or movement — This is indicative of approximately 50% of the cases of dementia that developed in a group of elderly people over a six-year period in addition to cognitive decline.
3) Being underweight
4) Having a history of heart bypass surgery
5) In addition, having high cholesterol levels in midlife — and even borderline high cholesterol — significantly increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease 30 years later. This is according to the results of a study published in the journal Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders.
6) Unhealthy habits such as smoking, not getting physical activity, and not eating enough fruits and vegetables daily have also been linked to declining memory and thinking skills.
Steps You Can Take to Minimize Your Risk of Cognitive Decline
The good news is that since you now know the risk factors indicated above, you can take the following steps to minimize your risk of cognitive decline by simply doing the following:
- Monitoring your weight (so as to avoid being underweight);
- Keeping your cholesterol level in the healthy range;
- Kicking the smoking habit;
- Exercising more; and
- Eating a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables daily.