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Why Weight Affects a Senior’s Risk of Alzheimer’s

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Scientists still aren’t quite sure why Alzheimer’s develops. However, they have identified several factors that contribute to the development of the condition, ranging from genetics to lifestyle choices. Here are some details regarding the correlation between Alzheimer’s and weight.

The Health Impact of Being Overweight

Maintaining a healthy weight helps seniors ward off several diseases ranging from diabetes to heart attacks. When seniors are overweight, it creates a physiological environment that makes them more susceptible to diseases. Generally, obesity has a negative impact on most of the body’s systems, and it reduces the body’s ability to ward off potential threats like the excess protein plaques that signal the beginning of cognitive decline. 

The risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is just one of the health concerns your aging parent might face. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Allen families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

The Associated Lifestyle Choices

The correlation between weight and healthy lifestyle choices isn’t exact. When seniors are overweight, they’re more likely to eat an unhealthy diet, lead a sedentary lifestyle, and have conditions like diabetes and hypertension. All of these factors increase the risk for Alzheimer’s, and if they want to stave off cognitive decline, they should make healthy lifestyle choices. There are many risk factors that simply can’t be altered, like age and genetic history. Risk factors like physical inactivity and hypertension, on the other hand, can be changed via behavioral modification. If seniors are serious about reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s, healthy habits are essential. 

Helping seniors adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle is an important aspect of caregiving. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Allen, Texas, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Alzheimer’s and Insulin

When people are overweight, they have a higher resistance to the hormone insulin, which is why they’re more likely to develop diabetes, a condition that impairs the body’s insulin response. As resistance increases, the body produces and pumps an increased quantity of insulin into the bloodstream. When there’s too much insulin in the bloodstream, the amount of glucose in the bloodstream lowers. The brain uses glucose as fuel, and with reduced glucose levels, the brain can’t work at optimal capacity.

The Blood-Brain Barrier

Insulin’s impact on the brain isn’t confined to lowered glucose levels. It can cross the blood-brain barrier, the protective system the brain uses to shield itself from potential contaminants. Insulin performs many important tasks in the brain. It creates long-term memories, boosts cognitive energy, and removes toxic substances, including amyloid proteins. When the body develops a resistance to insulin, these essential processes no longer operate at an optimal level. Overweight seniors are more likely to develop insulin-related issues, which leaves them more susceptible to cognitive decline.

Weight Loss

While weighing too much can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s, weighing too little may also be cause for concern. Many seniors with Alzheimer’s experience rapid weight loss when they develop the disease due to inadequate food consumption, inactivity, or poor self-care. Because of the relationship between the brain and the metabolic system, some researchers believe Alzheimer’s alters metabolism, leading to unhealthy weight loss.

Weight is just one of many factors that affect the development of Alzheimer’s. The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Allen Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Call (972) 548-0392 today to find out more about how programs such as the Cognitive Therapeutics Method can help your loved one age comfortably.

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