Alzheimer’s disease (often simply called Alzheimer’s) is a disease characterized by a progressive loss of certain brain cells. The cause of Alzheimer’s is not fully understood. However, certain genetic traits have been clearly linked to a significantly increased risk of developing the disease. These traits cause abnormally folded proteins to accumulate in certain regions of the brain and allow for the development of large numbers of toxic molecules known as free radicals that damage brain cells. The damaged brain cells in affected regions of the brain slowly deteriorate.

Early signs of Alzheimer’s can be detected as early as eight years before diagnosis. Examples of early symptoms include short term memory loss and difficulties with language as well as depression and apathy. The disease is often not recognized until the person develops noticeable learning disorders and short term memory loss increases while long term memory remains unaffected. In advanced stages, persons diagnosed with Alzheimer’s completely lose even basic skills and abilities and eventually cease to recognize close friends and family or even day-to-day objects. irritability and aggression are common and as the disease progresses, the person becomes increasingly dependent on caregivers.

Alzheimer’s disease accounts for roughly 60 percent of the roughly 24 million diagnosed cases of dementia worldwide. The most common form affects individuals over the age of 65. Around 2% of 65-year—olds are affected whereas among 70-year—olds the figure rises to 3%. 6% of 75-year-olds and roughly 20% of 85-year-olds display symptoms of the disease.

So far, the scientific community has not found a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are a great number of preventative measures that can be effective for people with a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s. Memory training, changes in lifestyle, an appropriate diet and controlling certain other conditions can all play an important role in preventing Alzheimer’s. Measures such as these can delay the development of Alzheimer’s for many years or even prevent it entirely. It is therefore especially important for persons who carry these genetic defects to learn about their risk and begin preventative measures as early as possible.

Genes associated with Alzheimer’s disease

A combination of two different polymorphisms plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. There are combinations linked to a 15-times higher risk of Alzheimer’s. Still, other combinations are linked to a 30% reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s compared to the population average. Your gene analysis shows the following:

alzeimerLEGEND: rsNCBl: description of examined genetic variation, POLYMORPHlSM = form of the genetic
variation, GENOTYPE = personal analysis result.

 

Summary of effects

Here you can see a summary of the influence your genetic variations have on your health and body:

  • Your risk of Alzheimer’s disease is 15 times increased
  • You need a large number of antioxidants

 

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Nutritional Genes – Brain

Based on the nutrition relevant genes and the associated genetic strengths and weaknesses, you should increase or decrease certain food components and nutrients. These recommendations are calculated based on your genetic profile.

Your personalized recommendations based on this section:

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Legend: GREEN ARROWS > this nutrient or substance is classed as being healthy for your genetic profile. Try to increase the intake of this substance. RED ARROWS > this substance is classed as being unhealthy for your genetic profile. Try to reduce your intake of the substance. NO ARROWS > The genetics of this section has no effect on the nutrient. PLEASE NOTE! This interpretation only considers your genetic profile of this section.

Prevention

You have a significant genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s. It is very important for you to take steps to reduce your risk. Some preventive measures can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s, especially for genetically predisposed individuals. Clinical studies have shown that the following measures reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s:

Exercise: Studies show that regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. At least 15 minutes of physical activity 3 days per week can reduce the risk as low as 40%, and is therefore recommended. Make a training plan, and follow it. Find a sport that you enjoy, and also consider joining an exercise group.

Socializing: Studies have found that socially active people have a lower risk of developing dementia. Regular contact with friends or participate in different groups will both benefit you. Therefore, keep in touch with friends and stay active in social groups in your community.

Smoking: Smoking has many negative health effects and it is always a good idea to quit. Smoking is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, and so if you have a genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s it is absolutely necessary for you to quit smoking.

Diet: diet seems to play an important role in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. Since free radicals can cause damage to the brain cells, a diet high in antioxidants is recommended for brain health. Antioxidants include:

  • Vitamin C: is found in citrus fruits and various vegetable
  • Vitamin E: a fat-soluble vitamin found in cereals, nuts and various vegetable oils
  • Beta-carotene: is contained in various fruits and vegetables
  • Studies have also found that a Mediterranean diet provides some protection against Alzheimer’s
    and other diseases

Education and mental stimulation: studies have shown that a high level of education and frequent mentally challenging activities (including puzzles, reading, listening to the radio, and cultural activities) reduce the likelihood of Alzheimer’s by as much as 75% and can also significantly delay its development. Spending long hours in front of the TV seems to increase the chance of developing Alzheimer’s. Pick a mentally challenging hobby that mentally challenges you (chess, sudoku, etc.) and practice it regularly.

Cholesterol: high cholesterol also contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s, and so you should have your cholesterol checked every six months. If your cholesterol is too high, you lower it with exercise and diet. If these are not effective, your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs. A healthy cholesterol level is important for preventing both atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s.

Blood pressure: high blood pressure is one of the most significant risk factors in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Measure your blood pressure regularly (1 time a week) after 10 minutes of sitting, and try to keep it in the normal range.

If your blood pressure is too high, the following measures can lower it. If these steps do not lower your blood pressure into the normal range, talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking medication to lower your blood pressure.

Giving up smoking is one of the most important ways to lower blood pressure. People who quit smoking in middle age have a similar life expectancy as those who never smoked. Smoking also affects the effectiveness of blood pressure medication.

After 40 years of age, limit the amount of alcohol you consume, because alcohol has a direct impact on blood pressure and moderate or heavy drinking increases the risk of stroke. Light alcohol consumption of up to 250 mL of red wine a day may lower your blood pressure by 2-4mmHg.

Obesity is an important risk factor and also increases your blood pressure. Therefore, reducing your weight will have a major impact and also lower your blood pressure. Losing 10kg of weight will lower your blood pressure with 5-20mmHg. Keep your BMI (Body Mass Index) under 25 to reduce your risk.

Regular physical activity such as swimming, running or walking, even at low intensity, lowers blood pressure by 4 – 9mmHg. You can reduce blood pressure by getting 30 minutes of exercise several times a week. However, intense exercise is not recommended.

Salt consumption is also an important risk factor for high blood pressure. You should limit sodium intake to 2500 mg or less. This can be expected to reduce blood pressure by 8mm Hg.

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