Alzheimer's is one of the most feared diseases among Americans, but a new study has found that many cases may be attributable to seven preventable risks factors. Researchers from the San Francisco VA Medical Center believe more than half of Alzheimer's cases can be prevented through lifestyle changes and treatment or prevention of chronic medical conditions, possibly reducing the number of life insurance claims nationwide.
The research involved analyzing data from studies all around the globe and found that the most preventable and modifiable risk factors were low education, smoking, physical inactivity, depression, mid-life hypertension, diabetes and mid-life obesity. The largest modifiable factors in the U.S. were physical inactivity and depression.
These factors account for 51 percent pf the Alzheimer's patients worldwide, and 54 percent in America, the study reports.
"What's exciting is that this suggests that some very simple lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and quitting smoking, could have a tremendous impact on preventing Alzheimer's and other dementias in the United States and worldwide," said Dr. Deborak Barnes, lead researcher on the study.