Shayo33 wrote:I just found out today through a blood test that I have both of the apoe4 genes. I am not even sure if I am pronouncing that right. I did not even know I was having any genetic testing done. I am still In Shock and I am not exactly sure what this means. I am so overwhelmed...not really sure what to do. I found you through the book end Alzheimer’s
If you're posting this from the Eastern U.S., I'm guessing you can't sleep because of this news. Wherever you are, you're no longer alone--and we're glad you found us through Dr. Bredesen's book, which has so many helpful and reassuring suggestions.
You are not alone in finding out your ApoE 4/4 status from a blood test that you didn't ask for. No one should find out that way! Yet doctors sometimes order "routine" blood tests and check off genetic tests or "APOE" without discussing with their patient why they are doing that, whether the patient understands the possible implication for both the patient and possibly the patient's family, and knows that s/he can refuse that test. You certainly have the right to ask to speak with your health care provider about HOW you came to get this information.
I bet you are pronouncing Apoe just fine, although the "right" way is long-vowel "A" followed by POE (as in the writer Edgar Allen Poe), followed by Long-E. The answer to the question of "what this means" is different for each of us, depending on our age, our family history, our health, our interest in diving into topics in which the settled science isn't very settled.
For almost everyone here, with the exception of people who sought out testing because they were pretty sure from family history that they must have at least one ApoE 4 allele (or gene), being "overwhelmed" is something we struggled with, along with emotions like anger, fear, anxiety, guilt (if we have kids who know have one of those genes). But we can tell you that it does get better--because the more you know, the more you realize that GENES ARE NOT DESTINY.
You may find articles in popular magazines, even in "science" websites, that say that having two ApoE 4 genes increases your chances of getting Alzheimer's (AD) or other dementias by about 9-12x. Don't believe everything you read!
it does raise the risk of EITHER mild-cognitive impairment (which in most people does not require intensive support) or late-onset Alzheimer's disease after age 65 (abbreviated LOAD) to somewhere between 30% and 60% by age 85--according to a 2017 analysis of 4 large studies. That's a big spread--largely because most likely a whole bunch of factors, from air pollution to what we eat, whether we smoke, whether we have untreated high blood pressure or uncontrolled diabetes, or never exercise or have little access to health care, all those things and many more probably affect whether any one person will keep a healthy brain for most, or all of our life.
For now, here's a very unscientific, but personal reassurance. I don't know your age, but I am almost 66, and also a 4/4 and I am still able to be a Moderator on this site, read medical journals, play dinosaurs with my 2 year old grandson, plan two week overseas trips to wonderful places like Wales, Ireland and Scotland with my husband. I can't draw and I can't play the piano, but since I never could do those things, I'm not going to blame my genes or my brain. I put a priority on sleep, on eating fresh food as much as possible, on not beating myself up when I am not perfect, and on finding much to celebrate in life. There are many others on this site my age or older who are similarly re-writing the "destiny" about what it means to have Apoe 4/4 on a report.
Take some time to read Dr. Bredesen's book. Read our own Dr. Stavia's Primer (You can find it under the Getting Started category in the second forum topic, or on the Welcome page.) One of our wonderful interns, all of whom are budding health coaches, will offer you a welcome post, probably tomorrow morning! Feel free to tell us more about yourself, and to let us know how we can support you in the next few weeks and months.
Hugs from a fellow 4/4.