How Weight Impacts the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

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Being overweight can contribute to a variety of medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. A group of scientists published an article in an issue of Molecular Psychiatry revealing that being overweight in the senior years seems to accelerate the development of Alzheimer’s. Here’s what you need to know about how weight impacts the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Clinical Study

Scientists from the Unit of Clinical & Translational Neuroscience division at the National Institute on Aging studied the possible correlation between being overweight and the onset of Alzheimer’s. The team worked with 1,394 volunteers who underwent neuropsychological assessments every two years over the course of 14 years. During the research, 142 of the participants developed Alzheimer’s. The scientists soon learned that being overweight after the age of 50 hastened the onset of the disease process.

During their study, the researchers learned that for every unit over the healthy body mass index, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease began six to seven months sooner. Upon evaluating 191 autopsy reports, they found that individuals with a higher than normal body mass index also had high levels of beta-amyloid plaque formations in the brain.

The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Fair Oaks Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

The Risk of Hypertension

Overweight people are more likely to develop hypertension, which impedes adequate blood circulation. If the brain doesn’t receive adequate levels of nutrient and oxygen-rich blood, it cannot continue functioning normally.

Insulin Factors

People who are overweight often develop insulin resistance. In response, the pancreas produces more insulin. However, insulin reduces the amount of glucose that travels to the brain. Under normal circumstances, insulin crosses the blood-brain barrier and attaches to the receptor sites on the synapses. In addition to making sure neurons receive glucose, insulin also plays a role in the way the brain metabolizes energy and the processes necessary to regulate amyloid-beta protein levels.

People with diabetes are known to have impaired blood circulation and high levels of inflammation, which also contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s.

Living with a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Fair Oaks seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Leptin Connection

Studies have been performed to evaluate the correlation between leptin and brain function. The compound is normally secreted by adipose tissue and is responsible for regulating energy usage, bone mass, growth, and adrenal and thyroid function. Leptin also plays a role in hunger and satiety. The hippocampus needs leptin to regenerate neurons. The compound may also regulate amyloid-beta protein formation and provide other forms of neuron protection. When found at higher levels in older adults who maintain a normal weight, the compounds reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. However, studies indicate that higher leptin levels in overweight older adults don’t provide the same benefits.

Overweight people naturally have more adipose tissue, which results in increased levels of leptin. Instead of being more helpful, the body becomes resistant to leptin. Thus, the protective qualities of leptin are lost and the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s increases.

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most serious health issues among older adults. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Fair Oaks senior care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your aging parent, give us a call at (916) 485-4663 today.