Understanding Alzheimer's disease and how to potentially prevent it

How to identify and help prevent Alzheimer's

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – With the deaths of Frank Broyles and country music star Glen Campbell in the past week due to Alzheimer’s disease, there is no question as to how deadly the disease is.

Director of the Reynolds Institute on Aging, Doctor Jeanne Wei said both Campbell and Broyles had late on-set Alzheimer’s.

"So, they don't start to manifest symptoms until mid or late 70's," Wei said.

Spokesperson for the Alzheimer’s Association Nate Olsen said everyone should become educated on the topic.

"In the next 10 years, 23 percent more Arkansans are going to have Alzheimer’s," Olsen said.

Right now there is no cure for the disease, but Wei said research is starting break some ground.

“There is increasing support from every corner now. The United States Congress has, with encouragement from the general public and the Alzheimer’s association to allocate more funding to support Alzheimer’s research,” Wei said. “There are a number of potential drugs in the pipeline that are being tested.”

Wei said late-on set is potentially preventable.

"If you can keep your blood pressure, if you can keep your cholesterol levels in control, you're going to go a long way to prevent Alzheimer’s," Wei said.

She also recommended staying away from sugary snacks and processed foods and sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine.

Coach Broyles' wife Barbara died of Alzheimer’s in 2004, leading him to start a foundation and to write a book about how to care for Alzheimer’s patients.

"It was set to the forefront. I think a lot of people ten to 15 years ago gained some awareness about Alzheimer’s disease," Olsen said.

One can live with the disease for a while, but it will eventually take its toll.

"It can take up to 10 or 15 years in certain individuals," Wei said. “You won't be able to walk, you won't be able to move. It's a sad condition."

So researchers are working hard to try and put Alzheimer's to an end.

"I think it's encouraging we might have a cure one day," Wei said.

Wei said early on-set is different from late on-set. Early on-set can start in someone’s 40's or 50's and is not preventable.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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