What causes Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease is similar to other types of common chronic conditions. It develops as a result of an array of complex interactions coupled with multiple factors which include age, and genetics as well as environmental and lifestyle factors. Comorbidities also play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s. Although risk factors such as old age or genetics cannot be altered, certain other risk factors such as high blood pressure, lack of exercise or the factors found in this study can be changed to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
A common misconception is the definition of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Dementia is a symptom where a person experiences a deterioration of their memory as well as cognitive and functional decline. Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disease that leads to dementia. As the disease advances, symptoms become more severe causing disorientation, confusion, behavioural changes and functional impairment and decline.
A recent study published has found statistical links between 10 health conditions that contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. These factors include:
- Major depression
- Abnormal weight loss
- Cervical spondylosis arthritis
- Being highly symptomatic that is stress-related
- Hearing loss
- Sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea
Some of these factors are extremely common in most individuals. The study found that the groups of people tested that had suffered from these medical conditions, began developing Alzheimer’s around 10-15 years later.
“The connections made, allowed us to confirm known associations, such as hearing problems or depression, and other less-known factors or early symptoms, such as cervical spondylosis or constipation,” says Thomas Nedelec, PhD, the first author of the study. “The question remains as to whether the health problems encountered are risk factors, symptoms, or warning signs of the disease,” he added.
Shining a light on mental health
This study highlights the importance of taking care of your mental health not only for your general health and well-being but also for your cognitive health.
Mental health incorporates your psychological, social, and emotional well-being. It is more than the absence of a mental illness or condition, it affects the way we think, feel and act. It is essential to your overall health and quality of life. This study emphasises the major role self-care plays in maintaining mental health. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and doing regular exercise helps support treatment and recovery.
The potential for prevention
In another development leading to the extension of our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, The Lancet published the top modifiable risk factors that lead to Alzheimer’s that are avoidable or manageable for people. These factors are as follows:
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- Physical Inactivity
- Diabetes Mellitus
“Our findings make it possible to model the possible trajectories of risk factors in the period preceding the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, providing new insights into possible windows for prevention.”
Booking appointments regularly with your GP can help you manage and avoid these conditions that are evidently leading to Alzheimer’s disease. You can speak to one of our friendly reception staff on (07) 4633 9000 to book an appointment or book online today.