5 Reversible Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease


If you’re familiar with Dr. Dale Bredesen’s research and writing about preventing or reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, then you know there are so many contributors to Alzheimer’s that he compares it to a roof with 36 holes.

That sounds pretty daunting, but I have some good news: Two keys to “fixing” those are to identify the specific “holes” in play for you personally and then optimize your lifestyle accordingly.

From research and case studies, we know that most Alzheimer’s patients have more than 10 underlying contributors to their diagnosis. In fact, most people without an Alzheimer’s diagnosis have “holes” in need of repair.

Five underlying contributors to Alzheimer’s make up a serious health condition called
metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of conditions that, if present together, increase your risk for a heart attack, stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

One in every five people in the United States meets the criteria for metabolic syndrome and approximately 88% of the population shows some level of metabolic dysfunction.

Let’s take a closer look at the 5 conditions that make up metabolic syndrome, along with the optimal measures (your goal) for each:

  1. Low HDL:  > 60
  2. High triglycerides:  <125
  3. High hip-to-waist ratio: .80 or lower for women and .90 or lower for men
  4. High blood pressure: 90/60 to 120/80 (without blood pressure medication)
  5. Insulin resistance
    • Insulin (fasting): 3-5
    • Glucose (fasting): 70-89
    • HOMA-IR  < 1  (Note: This is a calculation, not a test.)
    • A1c: < 5.5

Metabolic Syndrome isn’t a disease. It’s a sign that underlying processes within the body are out of balance. To reverse metabolic syndrome:

    • Inflammatory triggers need to be removed.
    • Gut health must be supported.
    • Cellular health must be addressed.

This requires a significant shift in diet and lifestyle. A proactive approach to preventing or fighting Alzheimer’s includes the same things. You have to take matters into your own hands because your doctor doesn’t have a pill for this — well he does, but the pills just address symptoms, the conditions that make up metabolic syndrome are rooted in lifestyle.

So here’s what this means for you and your quest to prevent or fight Alzheimer’s:

    • You need to know your numbers and compare them to the optimal ranges.
    • Optimizing diet, sleep, exercise and stress reduction can improve or resolve all 5 conditions.
    • Reversing metabolic syndrome conditions reduces your risk for Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

An easy action step you can take today is to begin your self-assessment for metabolic syndrome conditions by calculating your hip-to-waist ratio. Waist / hip = WHR.  If you have recent bloodwork, check your HDL, triglycerides, glucose and insulin against the optimal levels above.

To optimize your metabolic health, begin by removing starchy and sugary carbohydrate foods and beverages from your diet.

Angela Chapman is a Bredesen ReCODE Practitioner and Functional Health Educator. If you’re searching for practical tips to protect your brain health and avoid Alzheimer’s disease, her Sunday email is a great resource for you.