Alzheimer’s disease is one of the biggest dangers any person could face as they reach retirement age. Detecting signs of it is also a tedious challenge, but one new development may be a step in the right direction.
A joint research project by Macquarie University and the CSIRO tagged a certain blood biomarker that may point to cognitive decline years before any dementia symptoms become evident. The biomarker, 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid (3-HAA), was found to be at increased levels, which have the capability to deter the brain from developing an immune to amyloid buildup. Amyloids in the brain have been tagged as precursors for Alzheimer’s.
Researcher Dr. David Lovejoy said that people with high levels of 3-HAA had their odds of Alzheimer’s diagnosis at 35 times higher than people whose 3-HAA levels are nominal. He also noted that 3-HAA levels usually dropped at the onset of dementia.
The team’s conclusion came out of a study of samples from 239 Australians over 75 years old. The samples were taken every 18 months. A closer look at the data revealed that 166 of the test subjects were eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
At present, brain scans are being touted as potential ways to detect amyloid buildup. However, Lovejoy postulated the idea of a rapid blood test developed to detect high amounts of 3-HAA and in theory, reverse dementia symptoms through treatment before they become apparent.
“We don’t know yet whether increased levels of 3-HAA leading up to dementia can be reversed. That is something that needs more research, but there are so many exciting possibilities here. There would also be the potential to use such a test to check whether new Alzheimer’s therapies were working. In theory if levels of 3-HAA began to fall, it might indicate that the treatment was having the desired effect,” he said.
Preparing ahead of Alzheimer’s
A lifestyle check may be in order to stave off the danger of the disease, with eating options as the most prominent change.
Lovejoy recommended the so-called Mediterranean diet, which is primarily focused on leafy vegetables, legumes, beans, and fish with a dash of olive oil. Red meat and processed/fried/fast food should be consumed in very small amounts, if not declared off the menu.
As for drinks, two glasses of wine a day are acceptable for men and one for women, coupled with ample water consumption for the rest of the day. Some studies have claimed that a derivative of the Mediterranean diet, the Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53 per cent if it is strictly adhered to.
Cardio exercise of at least 30 minutes is also suitable, such as cycling, walking, or swimming. Taking up dancing classes also help avoid the risk factors for dementia; Dementia Australia honorary medical adviser Michael Woodward stated that joining a dancing class early in life works as well. Mental exercises such as reading, museum visits, interacting with people, and playing board games help stimulate the mind and reduce dementia risk.
There’s still time to prepare for a comfortable retirement and keep the mind and body functioning all throughout. Dementia and Alzheimer’s is worth the extra caution if you plan your retirement well. ASAG can help in the endeavour through arranging for a reverse mortgage and investing it on a Home Care (In-Home Support) programme. The programme may cover for important items such as in-home nurses and associated medicines, plus regular visits by loved ones. An added benefit to a home-care programme geared towards dementia/Alzheimer’s is to keep the person in familiar surroundings instead of the possible uncertainty of an aged care facility.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage: Fund medical needs for Alzheimer’s
If you don’t have access to health insurance or are not able to set aside funds for medical procedures, you may have the option to unlock the equity in your home via one of our equity release solutions.
In 2020, an estimated 22,902 people living in Eastern Melbourne had dementia.
Through the ASAG Reverse Mortgage, you can draw down for any of your retirement objectives, from Day-to-Day Expenses to Aged Care. Although you have to be aged 60 or older, and an owner of a home in Australia to qualify for our reverse mortgage.
We are happy to assist you with further details on how the ASAG Reverse Mortgage works. Our lines are open on 1300 002 724 and at firstname.lastname@example.org, so feel free to call us or send your enquiries about our solutions.
You can also get started by using our tool below to assess your available equity.