Here is the 1 trillion dollar time bomb.
By 2030, 71.5 million Americans will be over the age of 65.
95% of Alzheimer’s cases occur in those over the age of 65.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s (it can be slowed).
The number one strategy is prevention.
Aging and genetics are primary risk factors.
BUT so are
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure (in mid-life)
- Unchecked oxidative stress and inflammation
- High Homocysteine/ Low B Vitamin Status
- High Stress
- Low Fruits and Vegetable Consumption
- Physical and Cognitive Inactivity
The American primary care system is not set up to address any of these lifestyle factors. Therefore, it falls on you to become educated and take on your health and also inform your loved ones. This can be tough as the Baby Boomer generation has many entrenched negative habits and tends to take the word of their physician as gospel, BUT this just means we must try harder and meet them where they are because…
“By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail.”
It’s really that simple. If you are 65 or older or have someone you care about who is increasing in age and you don’t want them to LOSE their mind…
- They absolutely need to MOVE every single day.
- The must regulate their blood sugar with diet, exercise, and sleep.
- They need to measure homocysteine and CRP and come up with strategies to optimize these markers.
- They have to meditate or initiate some form of stress reduction practice.
- And they can never stop learning and using their mind. Retirement cannot be sitting on the couch watching reruns of the Cub’s World Series run.
The total revenue of the United States is around 3 trillion dollars.
Diabetes and Alzheimer’s alone could easily amount to half of that inside of a two decades.
Don’t expect some public health savior to come in and alleviate this problem. It will change at the micro and community level and these small changes can have an enormous impact.
The figure below from Barnes et al shows the number of Alzheimer’s cases that could be prevented through risk factor reductions of JUST 10% or 25%.
What are you going to do?
PS. I wrote this post after a 3-mile walk on the beach in the sun with our puppy staring at the waves and now it is time to crush some vegetables.