Alzheimer’s disease and high levels of triglycerides and total cholesterol are very much common in western societies.  It is said that, in the United States alone, greater than 50 percent of its adult population has high cholesterol levels.  Approximately 1 percent of individuals aging between 65 to 69 years acquire Alzheimer’s disease.  For people who are older than 95 years old, the prevalence is increased by more than 60 percent.

Dyslipidemia:  Up Close

Increased levels of cholesterol present a variety of health hazards to the affected person.  This predisposes one to a multitude of illness, some of which are often fatal.  High cholesterol levels are tough on the blood vessels, especially on the arteries.  This may lead to the accumulation of fatty deposits within the walls and linings of the arteries which could seriously impede blood flow.  The blood flow in the specific area of the artery where fatty deposits have accumulated becomes sluggish.  This prompts the heart to pump harder in order to make sure that blood reaches the vital organs.  This doubles the heart effort, putting more workload to one of the most important organs in the body. As a result of the cascade of events, the dangers are foreseen:  high blood pressure, the possibility of embolism, stroke, heart attack, atherosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease, kidney failure, heart failure and many more.  These are reason enough for you to make sure that essential steps are done in order to prevent the onset of dyslipidemia.

Shedding a Light on Alzheimer’s Disease

According to a report released by the Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), an association composed of 73 Alzheimer’s organization, 5.3 million Americans are afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and approximately 500,000 new cases will be diagnosed by 2010.  The economic impact is devastating – Alzheimer’s disease severely affects the person’s quality of life as it causes the loss of normal cognitive functioning such as reasoning, remembering and thinking.  It is a progressive and irreversible disease that slowly destroys thinking skills and memory, and will eventually hinder the patient’s ability to perform even the most simple task.

Scientists are currently hard at work try to pinpoint the exact mechanism that causes Alzheimer’s disease, and why majority of the affected individuals are the elderly.  Because the cause is unknown, treatment also remains out of reach.

Associating Dyslipidemia and Alzheimer’s disease

A report published in the December issue of one of the JAMA/Archives journals, Archives of Neurology, stated that high amounts of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), commonly known as the “good” form of cholesterol, seem to be linked to a lowered risk of Alzheimer’s disease in elderly adults.

Dr. Christiane Reitz, Ph.D and her colleagues enrolled 1,130 elderly individuals in order for the researchers to examine the link between Alzheimer’s disease and the levels of fat present in the blood.  A random sampling of old adults with ages 65 and older and who are residents of Northern Manhattan was conducted.  The other criteria for inclusion include being a Medicare recipient and having no history of cognitive impairment or dementia.  The researchers’ definition of high cholesterol levels was at 55 milligrams per decilitre, or more.

In order to determine the link between HDL levels and Alzheimer’s disease, data were gathered from neuropsychological, neurological and medical evaluations.  Furthermore, the researchers assigned the following diagnosis based on the cause of dementia:

  • “Probable” Alzheimer’s disease – dementia onset could not be further explained by other disorders
  • “Possible” Alzheimer’s disease – the cause of dementia is mostly likely Alzheimer’s disease but other disorders are present which could contribute to the development of dementia, such as Parkinson’s disease or stroke.

For the duration of the follow-up period, 101 subjects were diagnosed with new cases of Alzheimer’s disease – 12 were possible, and 89 belonged to the probable category.  Average age of possible and probable onset of Alzheimer’s disease was 83 years.  It was found that Hispanic subjects as well as those who had higher incidence of diabetes at the beginning of the study have been shown to have developed dementia.  Moreover, for subjects who had higher levels of HDL in their plasma (55 mg/dl or higher), there was a decreased risk of developing both possible and probable Alzheimer’s disease, even after adjustments on lipid-lowering treatments and vascular risk factors were made.

Other Natural Means to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

  • The American Journal of Medicine has published a study indicating that people who consume at least three servings of vegetable and fruit juices each week have a 76 percent reduction in their risk of Alzheimer’s disease as compared to people who consume less than one serving each week.  However, for people who have problems with their blood sugar levels and because some fruits contain high sugar levels, vegetable juices are more recommended. Eating raw vegetables, with the absence of a juicer, can also help.Examples of vegetables and fruits include cherries, plums, raisins, blueberries, apples, red bell peppers, spinach and eggplant.
  • The regular intake of foods rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA),  can also help slow Alzheimer’s disease progression.  This is according to the results of a study which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Omega-3 fatty acids helps build and maintain the healthy state of the nervous system – the main system affected in Alzheimer’s disease.Excellent food sources include salmon, flax seeds, purslane, seaweeds, walnuts and cod liver oil.
  • The National Institutes of Health said that some aluminum compounds have been linked to the neurological damage featured in Alzheimer’s disease. Although it is impossible to totally avoid being exposed to aluminum because we may never know that the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food on our table may be contaminated, still, it is important to know the most common sources of aluminum exposure such as antiperspirants; over-the-counter drugs like buffered aspirin and antacids; and processed cheese.
  • Doing mentally-stimulating activities is a perfect way to exercise your brain cells. Adopt hobbies that will force you to think – go for the crossword puzzles in the morning paper, learn a new language, memorize a new poem, catch up with current events.  This will not only reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but it will also help you feel more in-touch, alert and enthusiastic.
  • Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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