Alzheimer and exercise have a powerful link for type 2 diabetics. Why? Because we diabetics are twice as likely to get Alzheimer's. The good news is exercise improves and even prevents this disease.
Alzheimer and exercise are now a focus of studies all over the world as we search for ways to prevent the onset and slow its progression.
The reason is that medications and supplements are failing to halt or improve Alzheimer's.
Nothing in the medical field can slow Alzheimer dementia or prevent it from erasing the memories of millions of us.
Then new studies came out on the results of Alzheimer and exercise, giving us a tool to fight.
Alzheimer's wipes out memory and eats away at mental abilities.
A woman who has been cooking all her life can no longer follow a simple recipe. A concert pianist cannot remember songs or even how to play.
If you have problems finding words and following conversations or repeat the same story over and over, these are signs of Alzheimer's.
You may ask the same question again and again because you forget the answer. Or you do not remember that you asked.
Depression hits many with diabetes and Alzheimer's. They stop doing the things they used to love - hobbies, work, their social life.
In the early stages of dementia they can feel themselves slipping away. The fight against depression as a result of diabetes is intensified with Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's steals everything that makes you who you are. It does this by erasing memories and destroying the ability to think.
Brain scans of Alzheimer's patients show brain plaques and tangles. The farther the disease has progressed, the more brain plaques are seen.
These plaques in the brain show up long before the cognitive decline that signals Alzheimer's.
Doctors have scanned the brains of normal people who are at high genetic risk of having Alzheimer's someday. Plaques were already forming.
If your parents had Alzheimer's you are high on the risk charts. But heart disease and diabetes also add to your risk.
High blood pressure and out of control blood sugar both lead to the loss of brain cells. The causes are clogged arteries, lower oxygen and insufficient insulin.
The brains of diabetics show an increase in brain plaques as we age. This may be the main reason diabetics are twice as likely to get Alzheimer's as non-diabetics.
Diabetes, Alzheimer and exercise are a hot topic today. We already know that the best hope for controlling type 2 diabetes today is exercise and a healthy diet.
New research shows that exercise can slow down the onset of Alzheimer's dementia. It even improves the memory of Alzheimer patients.
One out of every eight people will have Alzheimer's. For diabetics like me that number is doubled.
When you learn that staying active changes the way Alzheimer's affects you, this is great news.
Even better, it does not
matter how old you are. If you begin now, you will see a difference.
Studies show physical activity that raises your heart rate for 30 minutes or more slows the decline in mental function.
The people in these studies had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which may be the early stage of Alzheimer's.
In one study a group of MCI patients worked out four days a week doing 45 minutes of aerobic exercise. They used bikes and treadmills.
Another group did stretching and balancing exercises for the same amount of time.
Those in the aerobic exercise group gained in mental agility. The other group continued to decline on mental tests.
No medication or supplement has caused that kind of change. This is why Alzheimer's and exercise are getting so much attention.
Mice that were bred to have a high genetic risk for Alzheimer's prove the link between Alzheimer and exercise. Active mice have half the number of brain plaques as their sedentary brothers.
Human trials also show benefit from all kinds of aerobic activities. Gardening, housework, walking the dog, anything that keeps you physically active slows the decline into Alzheimer dementia.
Since exercise also improves blood sugar and insulin levels, you benefit from fewer complications of type 2 diabetes in your heart, arteries and brain.
Add in the benefits of weight loss and strength from exercise. Being physically active as you age improves your quality of life in every way.
Think of Alzheimer and exercise as high priority.
We have more incentive than ever to put physical activity at the top of our list.
Bike, swim, dance, walk, garden, jog. Do what you enjoy. The secret is not to stop, ever.
Go to this page for help if chronic pain is keeping you from exercise.
Exercise will improve your odds with Alzheimer dementia. Remember, it is not too late to start being active.
This type 2 diabetic started exercising at 62. I am living proof that it is never too late.
[Go back to the top]