If you want to decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, you must:
- Get a baseline assessment of your brain’s health and function.
- Develop brain envy, or fall in love with your brain.
- Optimize your important health numbers, not just normalize them.
Who wants to be normal? Fifty percent of people age 85 and older will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Fifty percent! If that’s normal, I want no part of it, and neither should you.
Below are several of the major health numbers I want you to know and optimize at least on a yearly basis. There is a comprehensive list of these numbers and the optimal ranges in one of my best-selling books, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.
BMI or Body Mass Index
Many studies now report that as your weight goes up, the size and function of your brain goes down. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight, making it the biggest brain drain in the history of the U.S. On top of that, obesity is a risk factor for depression and dementia. It is essential to get your weight under control and knowing your BMI prevents you from lying to yourself about your weight. When you get your weight under control, you can reverse the damage done to your brain.
Fasting Blood Glucose
Normal is between 65 and 100mg/dl. But like I said earlier, who wants to be normal? I prefer that number to be below 90 because when it’s above 90, there’s a greater chance you will develop diabetes in the near future.
If you didn’t know, diabetes is a disaster for the brain; it is something we have to fix. As your fasting blood sugar level goes up, blood vessels become brittle and are more likely to break, thus increasing your risk for strokes, depression, and dementia.
C-reactive protein is a gauge of inflammation. Inflammation, which comes from the Latin word for fire, is associated with many chronic illnesses, including depression, dementia, and pain syndromes. When C-reactive protein is high, it is like you have a “low-level fire” in your body destroying your organs. While the normal range varies between labs, It really should be 1mg/liter or less to be optimal.
Normal levels are between 30 and 100ng/ml. I prefer my patients to have their levels between 50 and 100 because optimal vitamin D levels can help decrease inflammation, improve your mood, and even help with weight loss.
Ferritin is a measure of iron storage. Too little iron is associated with being tired and anemic, but too much, even high normal levels, is associated with stress, heart disease, and aging. Some scientists think women live longer than men because they lose iron through blood loss when they have menstrual cycles.
If your ferritin level is too high, you can lower it by donating blood, which is good for you and good for someone else.
Well, there you have it. Optimizing your important health numbers is very beneficial to your health, and you will reap the benefits for years to come.
If you or a loved one would like to get their numbers checked, or have any questions regarding brain health, contact Amen Clinics to schedule a visit or call our call center today at (888) 288-9834.