Wednesday, May 28, 2008

181 obesity ups AD risk by 80%, and some personal stuff

Obviously this is something that concerns me greatly, as I am morbidly obese and had 2 relatives with Alzheimer's:
Obesity may boost dementia risk by up to 80%

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found that being obese can increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease by as much as 80 per cent.
Their analysis of published obesity and dementia prospective follow-up studies over the past two decades shows a consistent relationship between the two diseases. ...Based on a pooled analysis of their findings from 7 of the studies, baseline obesity compared to normal weight increased the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 80 percent on average.
The team further concluded that being underweight also increases the risk of dementia and its subtypes. ...from "Obesity and central obesity as risk factors for incident dementia and its subtypes: a systematic review and meta-analysis" was written by M. A. Beydoun, H. A. Beydoun and Y. Wang. (PMID: 18331422) (article screenprint)

80%!? 80%!! Just shoot me right now. My father was overweight until he was diagnosed, but he wasn't obese by any standards--he had a big beer belly kind of gut. He had thin arms and legs.
Supposedly just having a 1st degree relative with AD gives you a 50% chance. Increase that by 80% and I might as well invest in long term care insurance right now. Totally depressing.
I'm having a bad week, of sorts. Tuesday at 6:45 a.m. someone hit my parked car and took off, leaving it pushed 6 feet forward with almost $2,000 worth of damage. My husband saw the truck, but didn't get the plate. Yesterday we drove around in the area and guess what? Found a truck--two blocks away--of the right size, shape, color, and brand, and it had a big old hunk o' damage in the front. The police will be knocking on his door, as they've already inspected the truck and seen that the damage matches my car. Jerk.
My grandmother is being a brat. My mom invited one of my friends over to her house for Memorial Day hot dogs and hamburgers. My grandmother barely greeted her and sat all through the meal with the "puss" face on, not talking to anyone. She was angry because my mom went to the Peabody Museum to see the Mexican art exhibit there, and had lunch with me and my friend, leaving her alone. She is really back on the "you can't leave me alone" kick. My mom dealt with being a caretaker for 3 years with my dad. My grandmother doesn't need a caretaker. She doesn't want to LIVE alone, fine, but that doesn't mean my mom can never leave the house. My mom can't get a job. Hell, she can't even take a walk without my grandmother bitching. It's totally not working out, and of course my grandma's apartment and her furniture and car are all gone so there is no going back My grandmother wanted this arrangement and all she does is complain.
Monday was the 6-month anniversary of my dad's death. I did not realize it until Tuesday. I'm glad. Is that awful, to be glad I forgot to be sad on that day? I've been sad so much for him. I want to think of him in the Elsewhere Bar, hoisting up a glass, maybe with some veterans. I hate that I have to drive by the nursing home where he died every day on the way to work, but I guess that's one way to numb myself, right?
(I've got some spare time tonight, so I'm blogging like mad! Enjoy.)

1 comment:

e said...

I'm really sorry to hear about your grandma and your car. That bites. Is there any chance that grandma can go into assisted living or even a senior community? This is too much for your mom to deal with and I am completely understanding why people say do NOT make any big, life altering decisions within 6-12 months of a spouse's death. I know your dad was kind of gone for month before his death, but since he was physically present, there was no adjustment period for your mom. Hopefully you and I will remember this when we are in a similar position.

As to the AD info... I really, really think that so much of this is B.S. The truth is that NO-ONE actually knows what causes AD or even if it exists. People can have plaques and tangles and not be symptomatic... so is it just that they develop in only some people or in everyone? Do people who continue learning their whole life just have better, more reilable methods for working around it? Older people generally have problems with technology--the only reason that it was not noticed previously is that technology did not advance as rapidly as it has since the industrial revolution. Think about the advancements in computer technology in the past 10 or even 5 years! Back "in the day" the technology was from horses and mules to tractors and well, physical frailty probably was a bit of a deterrent for older folks to stop earning their living in such strenuous ways as much as anything... One mistake with the threshing machine cost you your arm or your life... Or you could encounter polio or scarlet fever that would either kill you or leave you with a weakened constitution and a shorter life. Not to mention no central heat, air etc... boils down to you are not going to live much past 50 cause life is HARD. Now, life is less physically strenuous, we are fatter (ALL of us:-)), weaker, slower and maybe outliving our brains useful life. Everything else in the body breaks down with age... why does the brain get such a bad rap?

My point is, memory just was not as big of a deal in those days. You lived in one place until your spouse died and maybe with family for a while after that. Ta-da, much less in the way of short term memory issues as you have been doing the same tasks in the same location for 20-30 years... You don't get lost for the same reason. And when you DO make a mistake, well, you die. Because as much as we all piss and moan about health care, the truth is that we have NEVER had it better, never lived longer, never had such easy lives.

At some point one has to pay the piper. I just hope when I start displaying the symptoms of AD, that I'll have the guts to go on my own terms. As you've pointed out, there is really no way around it. 50% + 80% = 120% and we all know that you can't have more than 100%.