LATINOS HAVE INCREASED RISK FOR DEVELOPING ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
Many people are terrified at the thought of possibly developing Alzheimer's as they age--especially if they now have, or have had, a family member with the disease. With the aging of the baby boomer population in the U.S., the incidence of Alzheimer's is predicted to reach epic levels as the chances of developing a dementia are now almost 1 in 2 after the age of 85.
A small study by a team of researchers at Banner Alzheimer's Institute; TGen; Arizona State University; Mayo Clinic Arizona; Univ. of Arizona; Univ. of California San Diego and the Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium "provides support for the relationship between the APOE4 gene and the risk of Alzheimer's Disease in Latinos." This study followed brain imaging with PET scans and was published in the Archives of Neurology.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, Latinos are currently about 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than Anglos. Of great significance is the projection that by the year 2050, the number of Latinos affected will increase by 600%. What is pushing these numbers up? It's multi-factorial.
I often have clients or guests at conferences ask me if they are at increased risk of inheriting Alzheimer's because their parent has it. I tell them that even if they do "inherit" the gene or genes, it doesn't mean they will ever actually get Alzheimer's. I also tell them their chances of having a stroke and developing multi-infarct dementia because of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and/or hypertension is probably actually greater than their chances of getting Alzheimer's. I believe this helps them put their fear of Alzheimer's into perspective and hopefully motivates them to look at and modify their current lifestyle. Very few of the people asking me these questions look to be at an ideal body weight, vibrant and healthy, so there is usually always room for improvement in those areas.
The study mentioned above notes that Latinos have a higher incidence of all of those diseases which undoubtedly contributes to their increased risk for Alzheimer's. Again, it's that "wholistic" view of the body. Avoid fearfully focusing on any one disease and instead try to make improvements in your entire lifestyle. Your heart and your brain will be much more healthy and happy.