SAN DIEGO, September 27, 2016 — Alzheimer’s is a tragic disease and a societal health problem of epidemic proportions that requires urgent attention.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 5.3 million Americans suffered from the disease in 2015. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that one in nine Americans age 65 and older (11 percent), one-third of those age 85 and older (32 percent) and four-fifths of those age 75 and older (81 percent) have Alzheimer’s make this situation even more alarming.
Alzheimer’s disease in the United States is on the rise and is expected to explode as more and more Baby Boomers reach age 65.
Developing in the brain as many as ten years prior to its onset, Alzheimer’s has several stages.
According to the National Institutes on Aging:
Mild Alzheimer’s disease becomes evident when patients begin to suffer symptoms such as memory loss, cognitive difficulties, wandering off, getting lost, difficulty handling money, repeating questions, taking longer to complete normal tasks and personality and behavior changes.
Moderate Alzheimer’s disease affects language control, reasoning, sensory processing and conscious thought. Confusion becomes progressively worse, and affects simple tasks such as getting dressed or learning new things. The ability to recognize family and friends could be affected. Experiencing hallucinations, delusions and paranoia are not uncommon.
Severe Alzheimer’s disease occurs when ever-increasing plaques and tangles progressively develop throughout the brain, eventually making it impossible to communicate with others. As a patient becomes increasingly dependent on others, this final stage in the progression of Alzheimer’s could potentially require full-time bed rest as the body eventually shuts down.
There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which ranks as one of the top three diseases responsible for death in the United States.
Given the tremendous growth expected in the number of individuals stricken with Alzheimer’s in coming years and the resulting negative impact on quality of life as well as the ever rising costs of medical care for Alzheimer’s treatment, the case for increased research to discover effective methods for the prevention of this disease is highly compelling.
In one study published in alzheimers.net, researchers believe that a deficiency in what’s commonly known Vitamin D could be a cause for the development of Alzheimer’s. After studying over 350 individuals for a period of five years, this research showed that those with lower amounts of Vitamin D exhibited a greater decline in cognition than the control group.
It is an unfortunate fact that vitamin D deficiency is rampant today in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control reports that approximately one-third of all Americans do not get adequate amounts of Vitamin D.
Though the Mayo Clinic indicates it might be too soon to conclude that Vitamin D deficiency is a cause of Alzheimer’s disease, they do note “research suggests people with very low levels of vitamin D in their blood…are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.”
Vitamin D is metabolized in the body by exposure to sunlight and can also be obtained through the consumption of certain foods such as fatty fish, fish liver oils, dairy products, eggs and foods like milk that are fortified with Vitamin D.
Vitamin D stimulates nerve growth in the brain, potentially aiding in the prevention of dementia. It is also critical in lowering inflammation, increasing immunity, and strengthening bone.
With low levels of vitamin D associated with a 53% greater chance for developing dementia, getting a simple blood test is one way to understand whether you may be at risk.
To determine whether you have adequate levels and absorption of Vitamin D, it may be advisable to request a simple blood test for this essential vitamin from your family doctor or a qualified medical provider.
Seek professional guidance to determine what Vitamin D level is appropriate for you. If it is found that your Vitamin D level is deficient, it may be easy to correct with adequate Vitamin D supplementation.
It is never too late for making strides towards better health.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!