The Importance of Knowing Your Genetic Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease
By Restore Bio+Clinic
Alzheimer’s disease is the only one of the nation’s ten most common causes of death with no effective treatment. More than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, but it impacts more than 15 million people who are family members, friends, and caregivers of those diagnosed with the disease. Those who are sixty-five years of age or older have a one in nine chance of contracting Alzheimer’s. All normal people forget a thing or two, especially as they age, but there is a slippery slope when “this is normal” does not apply and action is needed.
For those with Alzheimer’s disease, neurologic decline usually happens slowly over ten to twenty years. It begins with subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) that progresses to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and then to mild or moderate stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Conventional wisdom used to hold that Alzheimer’s was an essentially hopeless condition with no cure and no effective interventions. However, thanks to the work of countless researchers, we now know that there is hope both for people who already suffer from cognitive decline and those who have a genetic predisposition for it.
Certain genes make it more likely for you to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Genes control the function of every cell in your body. Some genes determine physical characteristics, such as the color of your eyes and the shape of your nose. Other genes can make you more likely to develop certain diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. The most common gene associated with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease is a risk gene called ApoE4, with 75 million American carriers. It is the first gene variation found to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and remains the risk gene with the greatest known impact.
- A person who does not inherit a single ApoE4 gene from either parent has a 9 percent lifetime risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- A person who inherits one ApoE4 gene from either parent has a 30 percent lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- A person who inherits two ApoE4 genes—one from each parent—has well over a 50 percent lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Why are these statistics important? Precise testing can help the 75 million American ApoE4 carriers escape the fate written in their DNA. Simple and accessible testing leads to personalized therapy that works. However, individualized treatment and therapy begin with an ApoE4 blood test that can be done by insurance covered lab companies (like LabCorp) to determine your genetic contribution.
You might wonder why you should bother to test for the ApoE4 gene. After all, discovering you have a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease will not change your genetic makeup. The answer is this: If you are a carrier of ApoE4, there is a sophisticated and precise, proven program to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Dramatic reductions in the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is possible simply by testing and following Dr. Dale Bredesen’s ReCODE (Reversal of Cognitive Decline) program, which can be implemented before symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease appear. ApoE4 carriers can take preventive action by starting ReCODE as soon as genetic risk is determined. According to Dr. Bredesen, “Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented, and in many cases, its associated cognitive decline can be reversed.” Restore Bio+Clinic can assist you with evaluation and testing to start your treatment.
A Healthy Diet and Alzheimer’s Prevention
With the holiday season approaching, it is important to note that recent research strongly suggests a link between Alzheimer’s disease and insulin levels, prediabetes, and diabetes. Many studies suggest that those with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of eventually developing Alzheimer’s. Healthy blood sugar regulation, lower insulin levels, and insulin receptor sensitivity are the single most important factors within your control in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Insulin is secreted when you eat sugar and when you eat starchy foods like bread, potatoes, pasta, and baked goods. Insulin is very important for health and energy, but too much insulin from consuming too much sugar and too many starches causes high levels of insulin to be secreted. The insulin system starts to malfunction, which leads to an inflammatory cascade, free radical formation that damages neurons, and a leaky blood brain barrier, promoting Alzheimer’s amyloid plaque deposits in the brain and cognitive decline.
The good news is that you are in complete control over what you eat. You can make an enormous impact on your brain health (and your total health) by making your diet a health-giving factor rather than a disease risk factor. Eliminate or drastically reduce sugar and starches from your diet. Be good to your brain so it will give you its best.
To schedule an evaluation and further testing give us a call at 435-227-4355 or visit our website www.restorebioclinic.com.