What Alzheimer’s Disease looks like in Your 30s and 40s – Are you Suffering from Cognitive Decline?
This month on our social media feeds and the Brookview Wellness Blog we are diving into brain health with lots of information and tips on how to keep your thinker healthy. One of the most necessary, but maybe most uncomfortable, conversations about brain health centers around Alzheimer’s Disease (“AD”).
This degenerative brain disease is the most common form of dementia affecting more than 5 million Americans, and that number is expected to increase over the coming years. Your best weapon against Alzheimer’s Disease is information, early detection and early preventative measures to stop the progression and in some cases reverse cognitive decline.
Six Types of Alzheimer’s Disease
- Type 1 – HOT – Inflammatory, driven by ongoing Inflammation. NFkB (nuclear factor-kappa-light-chain enhancer of activated B cells) is a major mediator in the inflammatory response and increases the production of molecules that produce amyloid.
- Type 2 – COLD – Atrophic, driven by suboptimal nutrients, hormones or trophic factors (cell growth factors like nerve growth factor). Not enough building blocks to maintain synaptic connections in the brain.
- Type 1.5 SWEET – Glycotoxic, driven by high blood sugar or high fasting insulin. This is a mix of Type 1 and Type 2, chronic inflammation
- Type 3 is TOXIC – Vile, driven by exposure to toxins such as mercury, toluene and even mold. Minimize exposure, identify sources and increase detoxification measures.
- Type 4 is VASCULAR – Pale, driven by cardiovascular disease and often one of the earliest changes linked to Alzheimer’s.
- Type 5 is TRAUMATIC – Dazed, driven by head trauma from accidents, violence, and sports injuries.
Identifying the nature of your vulnerabilities to this illness can help you mitigate your risk, focus on more effective remedies and make changes to your lifestyle that can help you avoid brain cell deterioration linked to cognitive decline and various types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease.
Key Contributors to Cognitive Decline and Alzheimer’s
Recent studies have shown that Alzheimer’s Disease is a metabolic disorder, resulting from the disruption to the healthy chemical processes occurring in your body. These chemical processes sustain your life and the normal function of your bodily systems. This metabolic chaos is what leads to cell inefficiency and breakdowns in your body’s ability to maintain and generate the energy it needs to run optimally. Take a look at the list below detailing some of the most common contributors to cognitive decline.
Signs of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
Now that we know what causes the cell deterioration associated with AD, let’s look at some of the early warning signs. Early onset Alzheimer’s Disease can start to rear its ugly head as early as your 30s and 40s and much younger than most people suspect. Be on the lookout for these symptoms if you suspect you may be at risk for early onset AD.
- Brain Fog
- Hands and feet frequently cold
- Forgetting words – aka Brain Farts!
- Changes in Mood and personality – depression
- Misplacing objects Keys, Phone, wallet
- Walking into a room and forgetting why you you went there
- Forgetting information, particularly newly learned dates and numbers.
- Losing track of time, dates and locations
- Trouble following basic directions or solving simple problems
- Increasingly poor judgment or out-of-character behavior
- Failing depth perception and vision problems
- Withdraw from friends, family social situations and interactions
- Repeating information or asking the same questions repeatedly
Early onset AD is often missed but can be easily assessed using cognitive tests, blood work, obtaining a thorough health history, Quantitative EEG, PET Scan, Spinal Fluid or MRI with volumetric analysis.
Click to take a free Cognitive Analysis.
Genetic Testing for Risk Determination
Family history and genetics can play a role in your risk for developing Alzheimer’s Disease, particularly in your younger years. Below are a handful of the most commonly studied genetic markers for AD.
- APOE e4
- APOE e3
Approximately 20% of the population carry the APOE e4 gene. Inheriting one copy of APOE e4 from a single parent increases your risk of developing late onset AD by about three fold. If you inherited APOE e4 from both parents, your risk is approximately eight fold.
With regard to early onset AD, mutations in the following gene markers are the most common indication of risk. These mutations lead to the protein production and eventual neuro tangles that cause the deterioration linked to Alzheimer’s symptoms.
- Amyloid precursor protein (APP)
- Presenilin 1 (PSEN1)
- Presenilin 2 (PSEN2)
If you have a family history of AD, you can get tested for the genetic markers. Tests like the popular 23andMe genetic test kits can give you a better picture of where you stand on possibly developing Alzheimer’s Disease at any stage of your life.
Lifestyle & Alzheimer’s Disease
What can you do to protect yourself from AD, improve cognitive symptoms, and optimize your brain health? It is a list of things that will be familiar to you and is not very different from optimizing your health for protection against any other disease.
- Follow a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, fiber, and lean protein to induce ketogenesis
- Finish eating 3 hours prior to sleep
- Fasting daily for a minimum of 12 hours
- Talk to your doctor about supplement recommendations
- No or minimal alcohol
- Sleep 7-8 hours each night
- Practice stress relieving techniques such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing
- Exercise for 30-60 minutes, 5-6 times per week to reduce your inflammatory markers and increase oxygen to the brain. (check with your physician prior to starting an exercise regimen as 5-6 times per week may be too much for you.)
- Eliminate sugar, genetically modified and processed foods
- Limit red meat and enjoy grass fed only
- Exercise your brain with cognitive activities like puzzles, problems and music
- Maintain healthy social connections and relationships
- Be careful and mindful of your risk for head trauma
Dr. Brooke is currently enrolled in the ReCode 2.0 certification program and carries both the APOE3 and APOE4 genes. After seeing her uncles develop Alzheimer’s and experiencing her own cognitive decline due to low hormone levels, mold toxicity, underlying infection and high stress, Dr. Brooke is determined to heal herself, her family and educate as many people as possible to BEAT this unnecessary disease!
Brookview Wellness is committed to helping you restore and optimize your overall health and brain function. If you suspect you could be at risk for early onset AD, schedule a discovery call with Dr. Brooke to work together to develop a plan that supports your brain health and reduces your risk for Alzheimer’s. We are here to help!
Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or to be used for diagnosis or treatment.