Elliep wrote:I am brand new to all of this...I just found out I am E4/E4. I am still in the 'it feels like a death sentence" phase... now realize I have had symptoms for a couple of years. I thought it was hormones and age. I am 56.
There is no family history that I am aware of for AD, there is a family history of massive strokes ...I must say, I am different than I was last week after finding this out. My whole view of life is different.
A warm hug, Elliep, from a 4/4 "older sister" who is almost 66 and still doing more than okay, In fact, I am happier, less stressed, sleep better, exercise more and weigh less now than I did at 56. I wouldn't be surprised if some of what you've been feeling for a few years was in fact hormones. And while the conventional wisdom has been "no hormone replacement therapy", you may want to go to the "wiki" on HRT using the three vertical dots in the upper right hand corner next to your user name, or through the main page. Some people feel that HRT could be useful specifically for 4/4 women.
More to the point, you have no family history of AD. It's possible your ancestors died early from strokes and would have developed AD had they lived longer; it's also possible that you have inherited other genetic factors that outweigh the risks from ApoE 4/4
. Current meta-analyses of 4 large cohorts followed for years suggests that people with ApoE 4/4 have widely variable risks, with the "general" likelihood of a diagnosis of EITHER mild cognitive impairment or dementia by age 85. of between 30%-60%. That means that in some groups, 70% of people with this "high risk" factor never develop dementia. http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/articleid=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002254
It's also likely that your relatives had risk factors for stroke that are now widely recognized: high blood pressure, carotid artery plaques, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, diabetes, etc. Rates of deaths from strokes have declined significantly in the U.S. attributed to both lifestyle changes and medical/surgical interventions.
I think a vastly improved understanding of the brain-protective lifestyle interventions analogous to the stroke prevention knowledge we have , can lead most people to have a longer "healthspan". And personally, as someone who is in a clinical trial for healthy ApoE 4/4s, I think we will soon have proven methods to delay, if not prevent, the pre-clinical changes that are associated with Mild Cognitive Impairment and dementia before they take hold. You're at a good age to try some lifestyle interventions and benefit from current research.
My own, admittedly biased advice: Don't sweat thousands of interventions. I haven't thrown out all the foods recommended for the scrap heap by McGido (from Dr. Gundry. He's 31 and planning for the next 70 years. I'm planning for the next 20--I hope-- and relying on my sense of what works for me.
You have enough time to take it slow, remind yourself of everything you have accomplished and weathered so far. And tell yourself that there is joy in the uncertainty; we control some of how we travel and who and what we take on the journey. At the end, we all face a "death sentence", but I don't think it is in your rearview mirror and gaining!