When you think about all the medical conditions that could happen to us over time the very last one we’d want to get is Alzheimer’s or dementia because when you lose your ability to think to remember to r you’ve lost everything and everyone that ever mattered to you and yet Alzheimer’s is the epidemic of our time we are seeing more and more of it not jelateust in the United States but all around the world.
Alzheimer’s and dementia have gotten much more common in recent years and not just because baby boomers are aging since 1982 the year 2010 according to the Centers for Disease Control there’s been a 55% increase in the age-adjusted death rate for Alzheimer’s across the country from 16.5 deaths per hundred thousand people in 1999 to 25.4 deaths per 100,000, people in 2014 after accounting for age the states with the highest death rates were primarily in the southwest Midwest and West Coast let’s take a look at this map and break it down by a few states in Missouri. You can see in 1999 there were 15 deaths per 100,000 and in 2014 that roasted 27.4 deaths 400,000, and almost 83 percent rise across state line in Kansas there were sixteen point six deaths per 100,000 in 1999 and 21.9 desc 400,000 and 2014 an increase of almost 1/3 a couple of states with the biggest increase were in the southeastern United States Mississippi went from thirteen point three deaths per 100,000, and ninety-nine up to 35 point two deaths per hundred thousand in 2014 an astonishing 164 point one percent increase and across the Mississippi River in the natural state Arkansas experienced an unnatural rise in the number of Alzheimer’s deaths the rate rose from fourteen point eight deaths per hundred thousand and ninety-nine up to thirty-four point eight deaths per 100,000 and 2014 an astonishing 134 point five percent increase in Arkansas now on the other side of the coin a couple of the states that decreased the precious few were our friends up in Montana who went from 21 point 3 deaths per hundred thousand in 1999 down to nineteen point two deaths per 100,000 in 2014 an almost 10% decrease and up in Maine if you’re just looking for another excuse to move there the death rate decreased from twenty-nine point six per down to twenty-two points seven per 100,000 in 2014 a twenty-three point five percent decrease must be something in the water again there are no drugs available to prevent Alzheimer’s but there are things we can do to protect against the disease doctors and scientists understand more about Alzheimer’s now than they ever have before they have made several breakthroughs in the past decade about learning how to control it research shows that you can cut your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s by as much as half by making some ordinary everyday lifestyle changes in 1993 the chicago health and aging project recruited a large number of people and carefully
followed what they ate over time researchers looked to see who stayed mentally clearer and who did not the first thing they looked at was the amount of saturated fat in the volunteers diet saturated fat is a type of fat that’s solid at room temperature a good example is bacon grease you can tell it’s high in saturated fat because after you cooked the bacon what do you do with the leftover grease that’s right most of us poured it into a glass jar and save it for later and we don’t bother to refrigerate it because we know once it hits room temperature it will solidify and that’s a sign it’s very high in saturated fat there’s a lot of saturated fat in bacon but the number one source of saturated fats is dairy products cheese milk and yogurt are the principal contributors of saturated fat it’s also in meat and chocolate now in Chicago some people ate relatively little saturated fat about 13 grams a day while others ate much more 25 grams the question is does that affect the risk of developing Alzheimer’s well of course it does as you can see from this chart the people who ate the most saturated fat had three and a half times the risk of Alzheimer’s compared to the low group. so where’s all the saturated fat coming from well it adds up quickly if you have two eggs that are about three grams one slice of bacon and who have you ever met that has just one slice of bacon is one is about one gram a skinless chicken thigh is about four and a half grams a glass of whole milk another four and a half grams and a pizza for one is 12 grams before you know it suddenly you’re in the high group well maybe you’re sitting there and saying to yourself not so fast my friend what about all these headlines I’ve seen lately let’s say it’s good to eat butter bacon and cheese which raises the question should we be eating
saturated fat or not and does eating saturated fat raises your risk for Alzheimer’s or is it just junk science think to yourself does this pass the= common-sense test so you’ve probably heard the old expression if it sounds too good to be true it probably is well this might be a case where that holds true because all science is not created equally, there’s evidence-based science and there are theories of science and if it doesn’t pass your common sense test it probably doesn’t make sense and you need to be careful because you just have this one chance to get it right you can’t adopt something and get to the end of it find it doesn’t work and suddenly hit the reset button it just doesn’t work that way and it’s not just Alzheimer’s that’s on the rise the number of people suffering from mild cognitive impairment or MCI is also skyrocketing MCI is a situation where you suffer from a lot of mental lapses later on in life folks are still able to cook for themselves to live on their own they’re still managing but even the simplest daily tasks can become very challenging researchers in Finland decided to look at MCI they followed more than 1300 adults at an average age of 50 and tracked their fat intake for more than 20 years some of the folks ate a little saturated fat some ate a lot and the results showed that it wasn’t just Alzheimer’s saturated fat effects the researchers found the same problems in the volunteer with high saturated fat diets that resulted in middle lapses that hit them when they’re older the fattier your diet the more likely you are to have brain problems this also applied to people with elevated genetic risk folks with the apoE epsilon for gene that if you have this gene from one parent you’re at three times the risk of getting Alzheimer’s and if you get it from both parents you’re at ten to 15 times the risk looking only at people who had the apoE epsilon for gene researchers found the same kind of different people who avoided saturated fat over time had a much lower risk of developing not just Alzheimer’s but old age memory problems and remember these are the people who had a significantly elevated genetic risk those who avoided bad fats cut the risk of developing dementia by 80% so what researchers are saying is that your genes are not your destiny.
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