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Essential Facts About Alzheimer’s Disease

June 4, 2023

Our Alzheimer's Awareness Month newsletter series is focused on raising awareness and promoting brain health. The series will consist of four articles, which will be released once a week throughout the month of June. Each article will cover different aspects of brain health and Alzheimer's disease, offering helpful tips and information to encourage readers to prioritize their brain health.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that leads to loss of memory, thinking skills, and, eventually, the ability to carry out daily tasks of living. Alzheimer’s is the most frequent cause of dementia in older adults. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by amyloid plaques (a type of abnormal clump in the brain), neurofibrillary tangles (tangled bundles of fibers), and loss of connections between neurons (nerve cells) in the brain. Other complex brain changes are also thought to play a significant role in Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 6 million Americans and approximately 1 in 9 people 65 years and older. By 2050, this number is projected to be approximately 13 million.

In the United States:

  • At the age of 45 years, the lifetime risk for Alzheimer’s disease is 1 in 5 for women and 1 in 10 for men.
  • The majority of Alzheimer’s patients are women (almost two-thirds).
  • Caring for patients with dementia results in significant healthcare costs that will cost the US $345 billion in 2023.
  • The estimated lifetime cost of care for a patient living with Alzheimer’s disease is $392,874.

One of the first major signs of Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps the most well-known, is memory loss; however, initial symptoms can vary between individuals. Other early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease may be trouble finding the right words, vision issues, and impaired reasoning. As the disease progresses, patients lose the ability to complete everyday tasks (e.g., driving, getting dressed, or communicate effectively) and eventually may become worried or violent. Alzheimer’s is not only a debilitating disease but also carries a high risk of death, with 1 in 3 seniors dying with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.

In a 2019 cross-sectional study, the most common modifiable risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in patients 45 years or older was a high-carb and sugar diet, high blood pressure, followed by not meeting aerobic physical activity guidelines, obesity, diabetes, depression, cigarette smoking, hearing loss, and binge drinking. The prevalence of several risk factors was higher in adults that were American Indian or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic Black, or Hispanic than in non-Hispanic White patients.

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There is a lack of effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, with the most recent medication approved more than ten years ago. There is a large unmet need for therapies in Alzheimer’s patients, especially since it has debilitating effects in more than 6 million patients in the US.

While Alzheimer’s treatments may be lacking, we recommend supplements like Plant Based EFAs to support brain health, IV therapies such as Ehanced chelation to improve microcirculation, and sticking to a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet and active lifestyle to help with your overall health and brain function.

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