Cholesterol and Alzheimer’s Disease

Although no one definitively knows clear measures to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, research now shows a promising link between cholesterol in the blood and the brain disease that diminishes memory, thinking and reasoning skills. Researchers at Vanderbilt University reported in a June 2012 issue of Science that the specific amyloid precursor protein (APP) found in Alzheimer’s disease binds to cholesterol. Because of the breakthrough discovery, researchers are now searching for a drug to block cholesterol from binding to the Alzheimer’s-related protein.

Even if such medication becomes available, it is still wise for people to keep their cholesterol levels in check to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s as well as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other health concerns. Too much waxy cholesterol in the blood causes buildup in artery walls and limits oxygen to the heart. Cholesterol levels should be monitored regularly for individuals over age 45 or in anyone with higher risk factors such as high blood pressure and smoking. Consider preventing and treating high cholesterol through the following lifestyle habits: 

  • Stop smoking. Quitting improves good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels and lowers blood pressure.
  • Lose excess weight. Even losing 5 to 10 pounds can lower cholesterol.
  • Increase physical activity. Doctors recommend 30 to 60 minutes of exercise such as brisk walking or swimming once a day to improve cholesterol levels.
  • Limit cholesterol-rich foods. Consume less saturated fats (organ meats, egg yolks and whole milk products) and trans fats (margarines and commercially baked cookies and crackers).
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. Moderate drinking is no more than one drink a day for women and one to two drinks a day for men.

Right at Home adult home care staff can help seniors maintain a healthy exercise and diet regimen to keep cholesterol levels at an optimum level.

What have you found helps lower and maintain healthy cholesterol levels?

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