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Alzheimer’s – A Disease Fed by Sugar – LTC Market Effects

Sunday, March 5, 2017 12:28
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Alzheimer’s – A Disease Fed by Sugar – LTC Market Effects

The United States is facing an aging crisis.  Effects will be seen in settings ranging from the stock market to health care.  Once offshoot of this is Long Term Care, generally “end of life” treatment.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. This disease is the most common cause of dementia, affecting around 46 million people worldwide. Once a person reaches this point the disease can lead to years of needing long term care services such in home care or nursing home care.  Research has been going on for many years to figure out the main cause of Alzheimer’s to help make a treatment for the disease.  Doctors and scientists are finding new studies to certain things that can be linked to early on dementia. Many experts believe the damage to brain cells caused by Alzheimer’s disease starts 10 years or more before symptoms of mental decline appear.

During the symptom free time, toxic changes are happening in the brain. One of the main changes occurring in the brain is the accumulation of abnormal proteins into toxic plaques and tangles. This causing the once-healthy cells to stop working and lose connections with other cells, leaving the cells to die. Research suggests our everyday diet could be the cause of damaged proteins in the cells.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, an enzyme called MIF (macrophage migration inhibitory factor) is damaged by a process called glycation. As the disease progresses the glycation of these enzymes increases. Professor Jean van den Elsen, from the University of Bath’s department of biology and biochemistry says, “Normally MIF would be part of the immune response to the build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain, and we think that because sugar damage reduces some MIF functions and completely inhibits others that this could be a tipping point that allows Alzheimer’s to develop.”

It is important to pay attention to the foods you consume that may induce memory loss, or in this case, early set Alzheimer’s. The brain needs it own brand of fuel. Consuming too little of the foods you need and too many complex carbohydrates, processed foods and sugars stimulates production of toxins in the body. These toxins can result in impaired cognitive function. Unfortunately, many of these foods are the common core to American’s diets. White breads, pasta, processed meats and cheeses, all of these have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Some experts have even found that whole grain breads are as bad as white bread because they spike blood sugar, which causes inflammation. Excess sugar is well known to be bad for us when it comes to diabetes and obesity, but this potential link with Alzheimer’s disease is yet another reason that we should be controlling our sugar intake in our diets.

The United States adult consumption of added sugars has increased 30% over three decades. Added sugars are sugars and syrups mixed into foods and drinks when they are processed. Theses sugars are a part of many people’s everyday diet, and the percentage of the sugar consumption will only grow in the next few years. Furthermore, Alzheimer’s diagnosis is predicted to triple by 2050.  If this prediction of rapid growth of Alzheimer’s does indeed come to fruition, this will lead to a massive need for Long Term Care and stress the already overstressed US budget. 

Effects on Long Term Care Market

Long Term Care affects 1 in 2 people, according to LongTermCare.gov, and Professor Domenico Pratico from Temple University researched the increased amount of sugar and its connection to the brain. His study showed a decline in glucose levels in the hippocampus appears in the early stages of mild cognitive impairment – this is critical to the future of America.  After all, unless a family has Long Term Care Insurance, the cost of caring for someone with cognitive impairment is 100% on the family. The hippocampus is a brain region that processes and stores memory. Pratico said, “One of the changes that has been consistently reported in the brains of patients with different degrees of cognitive impairment, is a decrease in glucose availability in the hippocampus.”

In 2005, Alzheimer’s was titled as type 3 diabetes. At that time researchers discovered that your brain produces insulin necessary for the survival of your brain cells. A toxic protein called ADDL removes the insulin and as the ADDL accumulates, your memory begins to deteriorate.  Now, researchers are again warning that insulin resistance is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Today sugar is an epidemic in the American diet, and this is concerning to actuaries at the Long Term Care Insurance.  Underwriters are more likely to reject obese people.

It is believed 80% of the food and drinks in the grocery store contains sugar. It has become to much of a good thing, and could be causing long term health effect. It is important to start watching the things you eat and the amount of processed food and sugar you are putting in your body. Sugar is not the only thing that influences Alzheimer’s, but it is a huge factor. Dump the sodas, trash the twinkies, and use sugar to feed the hummingbirds only. Change your life so you can enjoy more of it.

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