Posted in Blog by Optimal Med
21st January 2015

Ask anyone, other than a sufferer what they know about Alzheimer’s disease and apart from little to nothing the one thing everyone will say is that it is the inevitable consequence of ageing. Recent evidence however suggests the opposite. In fact, according to experts, only about 1% of sufferers were genetically predisposed to suffer from the disease. Moreover, more than half the risk can be influenced by lifestyle and dietary changes. Roughly a fifth of cases are due to low levels of B vitamins, most notably vitamin B12, which becomes harder to absorb with age. A similar number are due to low levels of omega-3 fats and fish consumption. Other risk factors are an inadequate consumption of fruit & vegetables, lack of exercise and insufficient stimulating activity. So, if the current research is anything to go by, a balanced diet including meat and fish, exercise and mental stimulation should help prevent the disease altogether. Charity Food for the Brain has set up an online test to check whether you are at risk of the disease. This tests Cognitive Function and also assesses the lifestyle risks. A link to the test appears here The charity says they want people over the age of 50 to routinely take the test to thereafter implement any changes needed to avoid onset of the disease.


Though very welcome in the drive to prevent future sufferers, these new tests will do nothing for the estimated 520,000 sufferers currently in the UK. The Alzheimer’s Society ( provides detailed advice and support for sufferers of the disease and their families. For people with memory problems they suggest the following practical steps:-

  • Set up a regular daily routine;
  • Focus on doing one thing at a time;
  • Break tasks into small steps and focus on one thing at a time;
  • Keep important things in the one place;
  • Try to avoid distractions such as a noisy environment;
  • Timing is key – do complex things earlier in the day.


As the disease progresses it may be difficult to arrange your financial affairs. The Alzheimer’s Society recommends therefore that you plan ahead. Keep all important financial documents in the one place. Consider switching to direct debits so you won’t have to worry about remembering to pay bills. Choose a trusted friend or family member to help you with your financial affairs. Speak to your bank about alternatives to a “chip and pin” type card. You ought also to forward plan to the point where you cannot make sound financial decisions yourself by appointing a Power of Attorney or third party signatory to your bank accounts.

There is no doubt that a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s will be a body blow to many entering their twilight years. However the future need not be worrying with careful forward planning. Hopefully for generations to come the testing and lifestyle changes now being embraced will see significantly less people become afflicted.