Alzheimer's – How to Avoid It


by: Kathryn D Alexander

Having a parent with Alzheimer's, I have been researching as much information as possible on this subject matter. What puzzles me the most about this disease is why some elderly people get it and why some don't? It can be linked to genetics but that doesn't always hold true. My Mom has Alzheimer's, but neither parent had it. What is true about this disease is the alarming growth rate, i.e. it is expected to double within 10 years, and currently 4-5 million in the U. S. have the disease. What can we do to stop it?

My initial reaction to the disease is that something in our lifestyle has changed, i.e. our environment, different food consumption, different liquid consummation, different manufacturing techniques, electronic usage, etc. Looking back in history and pondering on what has been the biggest change in our lifetime to pinpoint exactly the cause of Alzheimer's, I believe the culprit is our diet. There has been a dramatic change in what we eat with the increase of processed foods, sugar, salt, food additives and preservatives. My gut feeling keeps pointing to processed sugar specifically. Although sugar causes weight gain, obesity and diabetes, there is no correlation to the countries with the largest production of sugar, to the countries with highest sugar consumption and to the countries with the highest number of Alzheimer's patients. I could not find any supporting evidence to validate my gut feelings. Brazil is largest producer of sugar and consumer, then India. The U.S. is 5thlargest sugar producer.

Since I could not find any conclusive information leading to the cause of Alzheimer's, I decided to compile my own survey for people who are over 60 years old to complete. In my survey, I questioned where they grew up, what manufacturing companies where near by, what type of cleaning products their Mom used, etc. My survey consisted of some of the following:

  1. Cooking utensils, e.g. aluminum, glass, stainless steel growing up and now
  2. Home heating system growing up and now
  3. Cleaning Products
  4. Deodorants
  5. Foods they consumed growing up and currently eat,
  6. Smoking history
  7. Alcohol Drinking
  8. Surgeries
  9. Illnesses
  10. Sleeping duration and naps
  11. Exercise activities
  12. Outdoor Activities
  13. Social Activities
  14. Canned goods consumption
  15. Tap Water Consumption
  16. Annual Flu shots
  17. Rice or Potato Eaters
  18. Salt and Sugar Consumption
  19. Snack Foods
  20. Vitamins growing up and now
  21. Attitude about life
  22. Nationality
  23. Book Readers
  24. Family Health History

From the data I have collected thus far from several 80 year olds, 70 and 60 years old who are all mentally sound; nothing immediately stands out as being the fountain of youth for good mental health. Growing up, their parents used some aluminum cookware; it was a product indicative of the times, they had some manufacturing companies nearby, they used wood and coal to heat, they ate typical foods, no fish only diets or vegetarian only diets, they had several surgeries, they get their flu shots annually, they smoked heavily, they drank alcohol and still drink. What did stand out to me is their zest for life and desire to socialize. They enjoy the outdoors with activities like gardening, walking and golfing. They enjoy social gatherings for dinner and playing card and board games and some enjoy doing puzzles. They have positive attitudes and enjoy laughing. They don't stay home idle and worrying, they keep going. The 80 year olds are still driving and one 80 year old teaches English. So if there is any conclusive evidence to avoid Alzheimer's, I would have to say worry less, don't stress, enjoy life more and don't sit home alone doing nothing, keep going and have a good drink. As I collect more data, I will compose another article on my findings if there are any profound changes.

Thank you, Kathryn Alexander.

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