July 15, 2014 3:18 pm

New Alzheimer’s study a wake up call for Maritimers

MONCTON – Eating right, controlling diabetes, not smoking and watching your weight could substantially lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a recent study suggests.

That’s no surprise to a Maritime woman whose parents had a history of the debilitating illness.

Judy Grantham is taking the advice to heart and changing her lifestyle to lower her risk.

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“I see little things like the other day I was with friends and I couldn’t say one of my good friend’s names and it really bothered me,” she said.

Now, 68-year-old Grantham is exercising every day trying to prevent the onset of the disease.

“I think weight has something to do with it as well.”

She’s right. A new study from Cambridge University shows that the biggest risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s are inactivity, obesity in mid-life and diabetes.

All chronic health problems found across the Maritimes, says Chandra MacBean from the Alzheimer’s Society of New Brunswick.

“We need to take control of our own health status and our own lifestyle and make healthier choices,” MacBean said.

Otherwise, MacBean fears, an alarming number of Maritimers will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the coming years.

Maritime provinces already have the fastest growing seniors population in the country. There are 2,900 new cases of dementia, a form of Alzheimer’s, diagnosed every year in New Brunswick alone, with more than 3,000 in Nova Scotia.

Those numbers are expected to dramatically increase over the next two decades. MacBean says it should be a wake up call for people now in their 30’s and 40’s.

“It’s critically important to manage your lifestyle as early as possible to reduce your risk of that down the road.”

The new research shows that one  out of three cases of Alzheimer’s is preventable with proper diet and exercise in mid-life.

 

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