Alzheimer’s Epidemic is Preventable: Various factors can help prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease and dementia, says Dr. Paul Stallone of the Arizona Integrative Medical CenterMar 02, 2013 07:38AM ● By Paul Stallone, NMD
Many people that have “senior moments” like forgetting an appointment believe this goes along with aging. Although having a few forgetful moments may be more attributed to multitasking than aging, more serious is a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD), which is not a common part of the aging process and shouldn’t be accepted. Approximately 5.4 million Americans live with AD. As people get older, its frequency increases, affecting approximately 50 percent of those age 85 and older. AD destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. In advanced stages, functions like eating, dressing and even speaking are forgotten. AD gets worse over time and may be fatal.
The terms Alzheimer's and dementia are often interchanged, but they are two different things. AD is a specific disease and dementia is a symptom. Dementia results in significant memory problems and other cognitive difficulties like problem solving. There are various causes of dementia, and once treated, some causes are reversible, eliminating the symptom. Thyroid conditions, depression, infections or vitamin deficiencies are reversible causes of dementia. AD is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 70 to 80 percent of all dementia cases, and is not considered reversible.
Numerous pharmaceutical drugs on the market are intended to slow AD. According to alz.org, the top five drugs are only effective for six to 12 months in about half of the patients that take them. The side effects of these drugs can be life threatening and include decreased heart rate and excessive fainting.
Some factors can help prevent and treat AD and dementia and support an overall healthy body. Due to the environment and certain consumer goods, heavy metals are becoming a significant health concern. They are stored within the body, resulting in a number of illnesses. Mercury is linked to memory loss and headaches. Aluminum is the metal most associated with dementia and AD. High levels of lead and cadmium can cause aggression.
It's extremely important to detox heavy metals for prevention and treatment of many diseases. A physician should supervise this process so that reabsorption of the metals does not occur. Also, many Alzheimer's individuals are in a sensitive state, and care needs to be exerted in all treatment. There are other toxins stored in the body besides metals that can disrupt delicate systems. A detox protocol can reduce or eliminate many undesired symptoms and diseases. Many agree that loss of memory and other mental abilities is not a result of aging, but it is a result of poor diet and excess consumption of pollution and toxins.
Herbs and other supplements can help treat AD and dementia. Certain herbs increase blood flow to the brain, improving oxygen and glucose supply, which enhances cognitive activity. One promising supplement that has shown significant improvement in cognitive function is unrefined, organic coconut oil. There is evidence that the brains of Alzheimer’s sufferers become resistant to insulin, which causes disastrous results because insulin regulates the brain chemicals that are crucial for memory. One theory about the disease is that it can almost be regarded as diabetes of the brain.
Coconut oil is full of healthy fats called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) that are converted by the liver into ketones, which the brain and other organs use as fuel. Ketones are an immediate source of energy versus other fats and because they are utilized right away, the body doesn’t store them. It is believed that ketones might provide an alternative energy source for brain cells that have lost their ability to use glucose as a result of AD. This super fuel provides energy to the brain and stimulates healing and repair. An important factor of MCT is their chemical structure allows them to pass the blood-brain barrier which most ordinary food or oil cannot.
Supplements that can be helpful in the treatment of AD are plentiful, but it takes a skilled physician to determine what the patient’s exact needs are. IV treatment can be of tremendous use in situations where pill taking has become difficult.
The brain does have the ability to generate new cells, which was once thought to be impossible, but with the right tools and environment, the brain can thrive and AD doesn’t have to be considered a normal part of aging. Certain conditions increase the chance of brain disease, and prevention is key to all diseases.
A family history of brain disease should provide motivation for other members to take their healthcare more seriously. There are many prevention protocols that can reduce the likelihood of developing AD; most start with a healthy lifestyle.
Paul Stallone, NMD, founded the Arizona Integrative Medical Center, located at 8144 E. Cactus Rd., Ste. 820, in Scottsdale. He combines natural/alternative/conventional treatments to best fit and benefit each individual patient’s needs. For more information, call 480-214-3922 or visit DrStallone.com.