My Mom Has Alzheimer’s—Am I Next?
Can there be anything more heart-wrenching than watching a parent struggle with Alzheimer’s disease (AD)? Or more anxiety-provoking than wondering if Alzheimer’s is in your future—especially if you notice your memory slipping?
The risk is real: If you have a family member who has (or had) AD—especially if it’s a first-degree relative like a mom, a dad or a sibling—you’re 3.5 times more likely to develop symptoms than someone with no family history. There are several genes that are known to increase production of the sticky beta-amyloid plaques of Alzheimer’s or the tangles of tau protein that disrupt brain cell function.
But even if you have one of the e4 versions of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene, there is a 75 percent chance you won’t get Alzheimer’s!
Research shows that having an APOE e4 is not an unavoidable dementia death sentence.
Learning how to protect yourself and your brain is what the Amen Clinics’ new BRIGHT MINDS Program is all about. Genetics is the fourth of the 11 risk factors that you need to be aware of if you want to keep your mind sharp for the rest of your life. Studies show that knowing your personal vulnerabilities and addressing each one is the most effective way to prevent Alzheimer’s and memory loss—or to get your memory back when it’s weakened.
Here are all 11 risks contained in the words BRIGHT MINDS, which is a simple and effective way to remember them:
B – Blood Flow
R – Retirement/Aging
I – Inflammation
G – Genetics
H – Head Trauma
T – Toxins
M – Mental Health
I – Immunity/Infection Issues
N – Neurohormone Deficiencies
D – Diabesity
S – Sleep Issues
If you have family members with dementia or Alzheimer’s, consider having a test for your APOE gene status so that if you do have one or two e4 variants, you can work wholeheartedly to reduce your other risk factors. Discuss with your physician whether you need to have further genetic testing if there’s a family history of early-onset memory problems.
It’s also wise to reduce your genetic risk with these strategies:
- Get screened early—at about age 40—for brain and memory issues
- Exercise—especially if you have the APOE e4 gene
- Engage in leisure activities like sports or hobbies that involve new learning
- Avoid head trauma—especially if you have the APOE e4 gene
- Take a balanced multivitamin/mineral with extra vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid EPA and DHA
- Supplement (to reduce beta-amyloid and tau protein accumulation) with resveratrol, green tea extract, blueberry extract, Panax ginseng, ashwagandha, and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
- Eat more polyphenol-rich foods, such as chocolate, green tea, blueberries, kale, apples, cherries and cabbage, and cook with sage and turmeric
- Avoid foods high in saturated fats that also boost your blood sugar, like pizza, processed cheese, and microwave popcorn
In the video below, Dr. Daniel Amen discusses genetics and the role they play in rescuing your memory today!
Be hypervigilant about your brain health and you could be rewarded with excellent recall and many dementia-free years. To learn more about Amen Clinics Memory Program based on Dr. Amen’s BRIGHT MINDS approach, check it out HERE.