7 Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Cognitive Decline

Combined, these seven risk factors accounted for roughly 50 percent of the Alzheimer’s cases.

A new finding was announced at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2011 in Paris (AAIC). Using mathematical modeling, scientists calculated the percentage of Alzheimer’s cases that may be attributable to diabetes, mid-life hypertension, mid-life obesity, smoking, depression, low educational attainment and physical inactivity.

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It is cautioned by the researchers, however, that these estimates make an important assumption that has not yet been proven — but there is a causal relationship between the risk factors examined and Alzheimer’s disease, and by modifying the risk factors, the risk of Alzheimer’s will be lowered. The risk factors are lifestyle-based and when changed, appear to result in a diminished number of Alzheimer’s cases.

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They determined that nearly 50 percent of Alzheimer’s cases may be attributable to modifiable risk factors. Altogether, seven modifiable risk factors contributed to as many as 17 million Alzheimer’s cases worldwide, and close to 3 million cases in the U.S. Specifically in the U.S. those risk factors included:

  • physical inactivity 21 percent

  • depression 15 percent

  • smoking 11 percent

  • mid-life hypertension 8 percent

  • mid-life obesity 7 percent

  • low education 7 percent

  • diabetes 3 percent

Combined, these seven risk factors accounted for roughly 50 percent of the Alzheimer’s cases. While this list is a broad spectrum, it includes all things we ought to do to improve our health anyway.

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In one sample group of older healthy adults with little cognitive decline, the researchers revealed that the most significant factors related to maintaining healthy cognition included low scores on measures of stress, anxiety, depression and trauma.  This same group showed resilience in the face of distressing events, like related to positive coping styles and the personality trait of  “conscientiousness.”

This group of people had healthy coping styles, remaining positive, getting advice, and finally taking proper action when predicaments arose. A few other traits shown by this group of cognitively healthy adults  were order, dutifulness, achievement striving and self-discipline.

Whether Alzheimer’s is in your genes or not–adhering to  this list of 7 Factors will improve your life.

Read more: http://free-alzheimers-support.com/wordpress/2011/07/7-overall-risk-factors-for-alzheimers-dementia-and-cognitive-decline/

Christopher J. Berry is an elder law attorney Dedicated to helping seniors, veterans and their families navigate the long-term care maze. To learn more visit http://www.michiganelderlawattorney.com/ or call 248.481.4000

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