Insider’s Guide to Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

Woman trying to comfort a man

In my lectures, I often ask the audience, “How many of you want to live until age 85 or beyond?” Most of the audience raises their hands. Then I ask, “Did you know that 50 percent of people 85 or older will be diagnosed, or have significant symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, before that?”

If you are fortunate to live until you are 85 or beyond, you have a one-in-two chance of losing your mind along the way. That one statistic gets their attention, and it should get yours too.

Alzheimer’s disease is expected to triple by 2050 – and there is no cure for it on the horizon.

If that is not enough motivation for you to get brain healthy, then you might want to volunteer at an elderly care center for two weeks and meet a few people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It is a frightening illness that robs your ability to form new memories. Later in the illness, you can lose old memories too. Plus, it places a tremendous, emotional burden on families.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are approximately 5.4 million people of all ages in the United States alone with Alzheimer’s disease and another one million with other types of dementia.

People in their 40’s and 50’s Show Signs of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s

Alarmingly, it’s currently estimated that half a million people in their 40’s and 50’s have early-onset Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Dementia is defined as damage to brain cells that results in progressive thinking and memory problems. Dementia is the umbrella category; Alzheimer’s disease is only one of the types, along with alcoholic dementia, Parkinson’s dementia, frontal temporal lobe dementia, and vascular

To make matters worse, we’ve conducted recent brain-imaging research here at Amen Clinics that demonstrates that Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia actually start in the brain decades before you have any symptoms. Other research shows that lower memory and thinking scores on cognitive tests obtained up to 18 years earlier can indicate possible Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

The National Institute of Aging recently revised its guidelines for Alzheimer’s disease.

The previous Alzheimer’s guidelines had three stages:

  1. Normal for people without symptoms.
  2. Mild cognitive impairment for people or relatives starting to notice a problem. And,
  3. Alzheimer’s disease, where a significant problem is present.

Based on new brain imaging data, the National Institutes of Aging added a new second stage: 

  1. Normal
  2. No obvious symptoms, but negative changes are already brewing in the brain. This is the “preclinical stage”
  3. Mild cognitive impairment, and
  4. Alzheimer’s disease

Can you see the problem? No matter how old you are, even if you have no symptoms at all, your brain is already starting to dramatically deteriorate, so the smart time to start preventing Alzheimer’s and other diseases of aging is now – not tomorrow, and not next year.

9 Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s

The best strategy to decrease your risk of accelerated aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia is to eliminate risk factors associated with them. The good news is that most of these risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are either preventable or treatable.

  1. Obesity
  2. Low education
  3. Depression
  4. High blood pressure
  5. Carotid artery narrowing
  6. Physical frailty
  7. Smoking
  8. High homocysteine level (linked to heart attack risk)
  9. Type 2 diabetes

In my book, Brain Warrior’s Way, we provide a road map for decreasing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. In the process, you will look and feel better, have a sharper memory, and improve your decision-making skills.

Since the problems of aging, including dementia, start much earlier than their symptoms may manifest, now is the time to take your brain health seriously.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other memory problems, Amen Clinics can help. Our experienced staff will help you learn more about your brain, support you in preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia and assist with early diagnosis and intervention.

If you’re ready to take control over your future, call us today at 888-288-9834 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.


  1. Neurological Lyme can also lead to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

    Comment by Gomer Wumphf — December 21, 2016 @ 6:04 PM

  2. I am glad to hear ADD is not a risk factor for my Very Poor Memory has concerned me for years.

    Comment by SecretMe2016 — May 25, 2017 @ 7:34 PM

  3. I have ADD also and unfortunately it is a risk factor. I’m not sure why it wasn’t listed there but it is listed on some of Dr. Amen’s other cites.

    Comment by Lori — February 22, 2018 @ 5:47 PM

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