I am here to redo my lifestyle and try to live healthier since I had a grandparent with alhezimers and now I found out I carry the e4 as well. Watching them go through the entire process and the rapid change always scarred me .Even though I am young my life seems so limited now. The things I wanted to do later in life like have kids now I am thinking of speeding up the timeline since I have this trait . I don’t know how to begin but I know it’s diet I’m just not sure how . Please help I’m devastated.
I'm so glad you reached out to join us in the midst of what probably feels like getting caught up in a tsunami of emotions. No one can tell you what the future brings, yet we can give some tools to make the journey be under your control. So let me first start by offering some perspective.
I'm guessing you're either 24 now or fairly close to that; it's a great age! (I once had a bad allergic reaction to penicillin when I was 33 and when the ER nurse asked my age I said "28; no 33!" to which she replied sourly, "which is it?") My feeling, at the ripe old of 66, is that we should all get to decide our "forever age", regardless of how old our calendar age is.
At the age of 66, with two copies of ApoE 4, I can assure you that I am living a happy, healthy life and have no reason to think I won't continue to do so for a long time. I didn't "speed up the timelines" of my life. I had my first child at almost 30 and my last at age 37. I had a rewarding and challenging career, then "retired" and commuted 6 hours each way during the week to spend the next year back in grad school. My husband and I travel more than we ever did when we were young. I was technically "obese" for many years, although I didn't feel that way and doctors back then didn't pressure women to lose weight, or even worry about checking for heart disease or cholesterol. Yet once I retired I was able to lose some weight and my current "cardiac age" on a coronary scan is "39'. So don't ignore diet, but don't decide that you have to throw over everything all at once.
And I'm not an outlier. I know of ApoE 4/4 women who are playing better golf and bridge at my age than they did in their 40's; women who in their 60's ran non-profits and organized relief efforts for refugees, women who took on the care of relatives like your grandfather and still managed to find time to care for themselves and their families.
Here's why you shouldn't worry so much about Alzheimers: Your grandfather was probably more than 50 years older than you when he developed Alzheimer's. If we reached back 50 years ago, everyone in January 1969 could say "No one has landed on the moon and safely come home. " Yet 6 months later, in July 1969, Neil Armstrong did exactly that. The science necessary to make "a giant step for mankind" came out of decades of work. And the science of understanding Alzheimer's and especially the major risk factors for Alzheimer's (very high BMI, untreated high blood pressure, smoking, heavy drinking, lack of access to health care, exposure to toxic chemicals, heavy pollution and contaminated water supplies--and lack of education, social networks, adequate nutrition and sleep, management of stress---all these things are now known--and were not when you grandfather developed this disease.
The latest large analysis of large populations (not just people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer's), found that someone with ApoE 3/4 (which I am guessing you have?) has only a 20-25% chance of developing either mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's by the age of 85--provided she is now between 60-75.
And for someone like me, with ApoE 4/4, my risk is only 30-60%. That means that I have a 40-70% chance of having a perfectly health brain if I live to 85, which is about how long my mother and her sisters lived. Life for you and my three children (ages 29-36) will have so many more ways to build cognitive reserve, brain resilience, and resistance to the effects of ApoE 4 than you grandfather's generation had.
So, sweet Jasmine, let me point you to a few tools, and suggest you give yourself plenty of time to absorb this news before you make any big changes. Check out our PRIMER
, written by Stavia, a kind and wide doctor who is herself ApoE 4/4--and who still eats dark chocolate and pastries once in a while! And also take a look at the "How-To" Get the most out of the ApoE4.info website
Please keep posting and let us know what is your passion, your dreams and what you hope for in the next months and years: Those are the plans you should focus on now. Be well, my young friend.