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As a woman — and one with a family history of Alzheimer’s — I’ve spent some time digging into the weird relationship that women have with Alzheimer’s.
What relationship is that? It’s the one where more than two-thirds of the people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are women.
A little while back, I wrote about the hormone imbalance that sets women up for Alzheimer’s, and thought, “wow — that explains a lot!”
I addressed that 10 -year window, between 65 and 75, which hits years after menopause has depleted our estrogen stores, during which women have an ultra-high risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
But falling estrogen levels is not the only thing contributing to the fact that women are falling victim to Alzheimer’s in much higher numbers…
There’s another, completely unnatural reason — disguised by conventional healthcare as “good” medicine — that’s setting you up to be one of the many women living out your senior years without your mind or your memories.
Mind-stealing drugs aimed at women
As far forward as modern medicine has come in the last century, there are some ways that it’s still stuck in the Dark Ages…
So, let me ask you: Have you ever been diagnosed with depression?
Let me ask you this way: Have you gone to the doctor with symptoms or complaints that he couldn’t really get to the core of… so he convinced you that your pain or indeterminable symptoms were due to depression, and sent you home with a script for an antidepressant?
It happens more often than you think. Sadly, there are still a lot of doctors out there practicing gender bias and assuming women suffer from the modern-day version of a made-up Victorian-era malady called hysteria… you know, because we’re hypochondriacs (yea, right).
I understand there is a very real need to address mental health issues. But antidepressant use has jumped something like 65 percent in the last 15 years and shows no signs of slowing. And the CDC confirms that women are more than twice as likely to take these drugs as men.
But even in cases where it’s truly needed, patients might think twice if they realized that taking antidepressants now could set them up for Alzheimer’s 20 years down the road.
You see, most of the commonly used antidepressants are what you call anticholinergic medications. They work by blocking acetylcholine — an important neurotransmitter (helps your brain neurons communicate) that’s involved in learning and memory.
Anticholinergic drugs have side effects like memory problems and confusion. And studies show that those problems can come back with a vengeance when you’re older.
But antidepressants aren’t the only anticholinergic drug doctors are prescribing to women in record numbers…
How’s your bladder?
Urinary incontinence is especially problematic for women. You can blame it on child-bearing, menopause and just good old gravity.
Whatever the case, the pelvic floor muscles weaken, and a simple sneeze can have you squeezing your knees.
It’s annoying but at the same time, kind of funny, until you understand that the drugs used to improve your bladder control — known in the pharmaceutical world as urologicals — are also mind-stealing anticholinergic drugs.
Don’t take my word for it. My information comes from The BMG (British Medical Journal)…
According to a case-control study published in April of this year, researchers concluded that there are “robust associations between levels of anticholinergic antidepressants, antiparkinsons, and urologicals and the risk of a diagnosis of dementia up to 20 years after exposure.”
Some other anticholinergic drugs, including heart medications, do not appear to have the same association. But the researchers feel that’s likely because their anticholinergic activity is lower than where the antidepressants and urological medications were rated.
In case you have any doubts about this “one” study in The BMJ, it isn’t the first of it’s kind to show this connection…
- In a U.S. cohort study of 3,434 persons monitored over seven years anticholinergic antidepressants were linked to dementia incident.
- A U.S. case-control study of 141,940 nursing home residents found a greater adjusted odds ratio for anticholinergic drugs used in the 90 days before diagnosis of dementia.
How to save your brain
Not to sounds like a broken record, but the biggest thing I did to cut down on my higher risk of developing dementia was to choose natural alternatives over prescribed pharmaceuticals.
I take bio-identical hormones to combat the estrogen loss…
I prefer kegel exercises, yoga and herbal answers to anticholinergic drugs for my weak bladder. That includes a natural bladder support supplement that contains pumpkin seed extract and phystoestrogens.
And the few times in my life when I’ve felt a little blue, I’ve turned to the B complex of vitamins, vitamin D (a regular staple) and St. John’s Wort. I can tell you I’ve also never let a physician turn my physical symptoms into a mental health issue, either.
If you’re a woman that wants to avoid Alzheimer’s these guidelines should certainly be in your health bible. That’s all there is to it.
Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!