Alzheimer’s disease is perhaps the most feared diagnosis for all patients and their families. It doesn’t claim as many lives as heart disease or cancer, but its devastating effect on the lives of loved ones is immeasurable. For some, it is a fear worse than death.
Unfortunately, the data surrounding Alzheimer’s is not encouraging. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released its estimate for the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) from 2015-2060. As of 2014, five million Americans, or 1.6% of all Americans, suffered from AD. The CDC predicts this number will increase to 13.9 million by 2060.
Why will there be such a marked increase? One reason is simply the aging population. The other, however, is the explosion of chronic diseases such as diabetes (DM), insulin resistance (IR), and obesity, which may all play a role in the development of AD. In fact, an emerging name for AD is “Type III Diabetes.”
Although that sounds discouraging, having AD related to insulin resistance and DM may turn out to be a good thing. After all, we are now learning that IR and DM are completely reversible. They are no longer the lifelong incurable diagnoses they were once thought to be. Interestingly, that is the same way we have always thought of AD. All too often doctors have said, “There is no good way to treat it or prevent it. Once you have it, it’s too late.” For that reason, some physicians even recommend against risk factor screening (i.e. with ApoE genetic testing), arguing “There is nothing to do to prevent it, so why would you want to know if you are at higher risk?”
Fortunately for us, that mindset is starting to change. Starting with Amy Berger’s book, The Alzheimer’s Antidote, and Dr. Dale Bredesen’s book, The End of Alzheimer’s, we can now see a clear path to preventing and treating AD. But that path does not involve expensive drugs that have failed in trial after trial.
Instead, the path to AD prevention and treatment may be the same as it is for DM, IR and obesity — low-carb nutrition, combined with an overall healthy lifestyle of regular physical activity, consistent sleep, stress management and other healthy practices.
We hope to lead the way as you transform your health — and avoid an Alzheimer’s diagnosis down the line — with satisfying low-carb food.
Thanks for reading.
Bret Scher, MD FACC