The Wake Up Call
May 21, 2020
With the presidential election of 2020 less than a year away, I haven’t heard any of the candidates mention BRAIN HEALTH or DEMENTIA or ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE (AD). Maybe too boring of a topic - or maybe too scary? It appears we are not only in a national state of dementia denial but also an international state of ignorance. Americans living with AD stand at 6 million and will double to 12 million people in 2050. On a world wide scale the numbers are even more daunting with current stats at 50 million persons set to triple by 2050.
It is not only our candidates that should be talking about this it’s us! However we also keep quiet, as if muttering the word dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease portends we are going to contract it.
With no silver bullet from the pharmaceutical industry to quell our anxiety about this pandemic, candidates for president along with the rest of the world seem to be turning away from the mere mention of DEMENTIA. Unfortunately, this prevents us from looking directly at this encroaching disease that is changing our world. Changes we keep denying that prevent us from seeing possibilities for arresting and preventing AD, one of the saddest of all diseases.
Recently Brain-Body-Health had its first pot-luck lunch, where a group of us gathered together to share recipes and stories about how we woke up to the importance of brain-body health. For the majority, fear was at the center of that awakening. The sharing was rich and the meal was whole food, low carbohydrate and organic. We formed a small but much needed community to support one another in the new choices we are making to optimize our brain-body health. We acknowledged our past denial, named our fear, and began creating actionable changes in our lives.
Exploring fear is our individual and collective course for reducing DEMENTIA. Fear can act as a catalyst to wake us up, even if we don’t want to. Often if we inquire into fear it will launch us onto a trajectory we never quite expected as it did with members of our potluck community. When we don’t name fear it hides out causing excess stress and emotional pain that holds us in a state of doom and gloom.
Fear of Alzheimer’s disease became a reality for me the day my mother was diagnosed in 2015. Despite my grandmother and great grandmother having the disease, I closeted those scary memories and lived in denial and ignorance for many years. Many people I talk with tell me there is nothing that can be done, so why do anything. “I’d rather not know”, is a statement I hear often.
Finding out that I carry one copy of the APOE4 gene, the most researched Alzheimer’s risk gene, woke me up and changed me. I no longer fear Alzheimer’s disease. I recognize my family history and genetic predisposition to dementia as a gift that has opened up a whole new area of study changing the course of my health practices and my career. I’ve received my wake-up call! Have you received yours?
Dementia can happen to anyone, even without the APOE4 gene. There is so much we can be do to protect our brain. I am now implementing lifestyle behaviors that protect my cognition.
Periodically fear still knocks on my door, with a word substitution or forgotten task. When this happens, I begin a dialogue with fear. What is fear saying? Do I need to take different actions? Do I need to consult my resources, look at lab values, see my doctor, explore research, meditate or get a good night sleep? The truth is there is no one answer but many possibilities. With fears named, we are able to step forward and discover ways to improve our own unique personal program of Brain-Body Health.
We started the Brain-Body-Health practice to provide education and offer targeted medical interventions that protect you from developing dementia. The journey begins with you, with your curiosity, your willingness, and your love of a healthy brain.