Silent Strokes Contribute to Rapid Alzheimer’s Progressionby Karen Vieira, MBA, PhD | December 21, 2007
According to new research published in Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can see a rapid acceleration of symptoms as a result of a small silent stroke. The study on 150 patients at the Catholic University of Korea demonstrated that patients showing signs of silent strokes had markedly increased dementia and cognitive impairment than Alzheimer patients who had not suffered any strokes. Just one or two small silent strokes are enough to severely impact the severity of Alzheimer’s symptoms.
As we age, we all will have abnormal protein deposits in our brains that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. But most people can reach a very old age without yet developing Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia. People who suffer silent strokes need less of these abnormal protein deposits to throw them into full-blown Alzheimer’s disease. It is not believed that the protein deposits contribute to the silent strokes, but instead the silent strokes are believed to be causes by hardening of the arteries from poor lifestyle choices like cigarette smoking and untreated high blood pressure. This study is not claiming to fully understand the connection between silent strokes and Alzheimer’s, but only reports that patients who suffer small silent strokes see a rapid acceleration of Alzheimer’s symptoms. There is no way to get rid of the gene for Alzheimer’s, but if you have it and live a healthy lifestyle, the chance of having a stroke is significantly diminished.
Keeping our brains and bodies healthy by making better lifestyle choices is the best advice any doctor could give. By following a proper nutritional plan and getting plenty of exercise, anyone can start now to improve the chances of a longer life without dementia, no matter what lifestyle choices they have made in the past. If anyone has to face Alzheimer’s disease later in life, it is best to live a healthier life now to decrease the chance of strokes that speed up this already difficult disease. Alzheimer’s patients can normally expect a slower progression of symptoms and a better quality of life if they can avoid having strokes. There is no vaccine or other prevention for Alzheimer’s now so take care of your body.
I must point out though, that it seems like scientists are always looking for something to blame most diseases on rather than our poor lifestyle choices. Some blame the genes for Alzheimer’s, others say it is exposure to certain chemicals, and now this new study say small strokes may be responsible. Letâ€™s just be responsible for ourselves and make wise lifestyle decisions!
Song IU, Kim JS, Kim YI, Eah KY, Lee KS. Clinical significance of silent cerebral infarctions in patients with Alzheimer disease. Cogn Behav Neurol. 2007 Jun;20(2):93-8.
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