Sunday, September 14, 2008

Politics and Alzheimer's Disease

Watch actor David Hyde Pierce share his story about how Alzheimer's disease affected his family (after a 30 second commercial). His father and grandfather suffered from the disease.

Watch CBS Videos Online

A politician running for state senate knocked on my door yesterday. She told me she was running for the office and wondered if there were any issues that were important to me. I invited her in to meet my 90 year old father who has Parkinson's disease and showed her pictures of my mother who died last year from Alzheimer's disease. I told her that I believed that these diseases will grow to epidemic proportions unless someone steps into the ring to fight it with an act of PREVENTION! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this election year, I am looking for a politician that will fix health care. One of the big elements of that will be a plan to prevent disease before it happens.

It starts by teaching our children how to eat better and to be more physically and mentally active. There is a strong link between obesity and dementia. Obesity is a huge risk factor for Alzheimer's. Get the pop machines and the junk food out of our schools. This is a message that will not get much support from the medical community and the pharmaceutical industry. Preventing people from getting sick in the first place will cut their income and profits dramatically.

Studies had shown, that exercise - even in the form of everyday activity - could stave off dementia, reducing the risk by 30% to 40%.

Diets rich in vitamin C cut the risk by about 15% and a very good study had shown that sticking closely to a Mediterranean diet could cut the chances of developing dementia by up to 40%.

Just as with heart disease and stroke, reducing blood pressure is also protective - yet less than one in three people who need it have their blood pressure properly managed.

Scientists think that as many as 4.5 million Americans (26 million people worldwide) suffer from AD. But in the next few decades, that number is expected to skyrocket by 350% as America's baby-boomers age. According to a recent study from John Hopkins University, by 2050, Asia will have 62.8 million of the world's 106 million Alzheimer's patients. The disease usually begins after age 60, and risk goes up with age. While younger people also may get AD, it is much less common. About 10 percent of men and women ages 65 to 74 have AD, and nearly half of those age 85 and older may have the disease. It is important to note, however, that AD is not a normal part of aging.

This year Alzheimer’s is costing Medicare $91 billion and Medicaid $21 billion. By 2015, the two programs will be spending $210 billion just on individuals with Alzheimer’s. Finding a "cure" would be beneficial. Prevention is something we could do now. Prevention will cost us a lot less in the long run. Prevention is the best cure that we have right now. There are no bad side effects to prevention.

1 comment:

Lilly's Life said...

That is an excellent post! You are so right the answers are staring us in the face - my sister has Parkinsons and she is only 50! I will be back to visit your site again and it was good to see that at least you got a chance to talk to a politician about what you would like to see change. Bet you felt good afterwards! I will link you to my blog!