“Dementia Is On The Rise”

Approximately 6 million Americans have dementia and the prevalence is increasing. Tragically, nearly a half-million new Alzheimer’s cases will be diagnosed annually. An estimated 1 million people in the US have mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and about 110 million older adults who are aging normally have some kind of cognitive complaint. Memory continues to decline as individuals age, with the downward slope depending on genetic makeup and lifestyle factors. There are no disease-modifying treatments for age-related memory loss. Some studies suggest that lifestyle factors are even more important than genetic factors, and one of those major areas is nutrition. Up to half of all Alzheimer’s Disease cases worldwide are potentially attributable to seven major risk factors: depression/stress, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, physical inactivity, smoking, and low education/cognitive inactivity. We also know that dementia can start early. A study published in the British Medical Journal, conducted by an Inserm research team, shows that our memory and capacity for reasoning and understanding start to decline at the age of 45. The study estimated 43.8 million cases of dementia worldwide in 2016, which represented an increase of 117% from the number of cases in 1990 (20.2 million). Dementia was the fifth-leading cause of mortality worldwide in 2016. The number of women who died of dementia was nearly double that of men. There are three main drugs (Aricept, or donepezil; Exelon, or rivastigmine; and Reminyl, Razadyne or galantamine) which are currently approved for use in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

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