Alzheimer's is a progressive disease which can have a profound impact on the person with the diagnosis and his or her family. Although there is no specific cause for the disease, there are some factors that have been linked to its development. By knowing what is a risk factor, you can possibly take steps to avoid developing the condition.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Some of the risk factors that can contribute to the development of Alzheimer's include age and family history. If someone in your family, such as your parents or grandparents, had the disease, you are at an increased risk of having it. Gender can also play a role. Women are more likely to have the disease than men.
Researchers have also found a possible link between Alzheimer's and the use of certain medications used to treat depression and allergies. Tricyclic antidepressants and anticholinergics used in high doses over an extended period of time were associated with the disease.
Another study found a relationship between the disease and poor heart function. Participants in the study with reduced heart function were up to three times as likely to have Alzheimer's than their counterparts with good health function. The thought is that the poor heart function is responsible for a decreased blood flow to the brain. Good circulation is needed to support the brain's activity.
What Can You Do?
Obviously, you have no control over some of the risk factors, such as age, family history, and gender. However, there are some risk factors that you can influence through changes to your current lifestyle.
For instance, if you have poor heart function, it is vital that you work with your family doctor to create a treatment plan. This can include taking medications, exercising, and changing your diet.
If you are currently taking antidepressants or anticholinergics, talk to your doctor about the possible link to Alzheimer's. There are many ways in which you can lower your intake of anticholinergics to control allergies, including avoiding allergens and keeping windows closed to keep allergens outside of the home. If you suffer from depression, your doctor can possibly prescribe a different medication to help treat your symptoms.
Understanding your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease can be important to you and your family. Talk to your doctor about any other risk factors which you might have and what you can do to help decrease the odds you have the disease. If you have specific questions about potential Alzheimer's care, get in contact with a center like Alta Ridge Communities.