Stress Raises Risk for Alzheimer’s - Take Care Of Your Peers
I’ve voiced before that Alzheimer’s—specifically, dementia—is a disease that has personally impacted my family and therefore, is a topic I want to be more vocal about.
Losing my mom to dementia, was and still is difficult; but I know she would be proud that I am doing what I can to be active in helping to spread some knowledge about the disease.
Recently, TheGuardian.com released an article entitled Stressful experiences can age brain ‘by years’. Alzheimer’s experts hear, which states that stressful events in early life can negatively impact brain health.
According to Wisconsin University’s school of medicine and public health, they found that “[African Americans] experienced 60% more stressful events than white people during their lifetimes…in African Americans, each stressful experience was equivalent to approximately four years of cognitive ageing.”
Wow. Four years of cognitive ageing. As a black man who happened to lose his mother to dementia, this resonates with me. Although the article claims the data does not prove an increased risk of dementia, the overall impact on brain health, alone, is alarming.
The stressful factors listed are “the death of a parent, abuse, loss of a job, loss of a home…poverty, living in a disadvantaged neighbourhood, divorce”—many of us have experienced one or more of these circumstances.
In fact, with African Americans having a higher chance of living in poverty or disadvantaged communities, these "stressful events" may be considered normal to some. This shouldn't be the case, but for many it's their life.
Furthermore, regardless of race or ethnicity, we all know someone who has gone through these stressful circumstances; so to think these events could correlate to Alzheimers in our 50s and beyond is eye-opening.
I do not have an ultimate solution to eliminating the stressful factors in your life. Hell, I can’t even say that one day, it’ll all come to an end. I would like to, but you and I both know, sometimes, life doesn’t work out that way.
What I can say is, stay strong; and when you aren’t feeling your strongest, find a source of light. Remember that you have purpose. Remember that you’ve overcome obstacles before, which makes you capable to fight any forthcoming adversity. Dig deep, and keep referencing that one thing or person that keeps you going. Turn to your faith or whatever ideology you believe in.
Resilient Warriors, take care of yourselves. Take care of the people around you. Life is hard. So dispense the support you, too, wish to receive.
Love You, Mom.