Uncover the connection between obesity and Alzheimer’s disease. Explore the impact of obesity on brain health.
Yes, you read right. Obesity is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. As per a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, excessive weight can boost one’s odds of acquiring Alzheimer’s and dropping pounds can reduce these odds, potentially slowing down cognitive deterioration.
The researchers conducted a study examining the brain scans of over 1,300 individuals. They contrasted the gray matter patterns of individuals with Alzheimer’s with those of healthy individuals.
They also contrasted brain scans of individuals with obesity to those without it. The researchers then generated brain maps exhibiting gray matter degradation for all study participants. The findings showed that Alzheimer’s and obesity have a similar impact on gray matter, implying that they may induce comparable forms of brain neurodegeneration.
Gray Matter In The Brain & Alzheimer’s Disease
The development of Alzheimer’s is greatly influenced by gray matter. As per a 2021 report, an accumulation of plaques in the brain can result in a decline in gray matter, which in turn reduces higher cognitive function. As gray matter decreases, cognitive abilities, motor skills, and memory deteriorate.
This research makes a noteworthy contribution to the growing body of evidence highlighting the detrimental effects of obesity – a disease impacting multiple systems and associated with metabolic alterations, including direct consequences on the central nervous system – on cognitive ability, brain health, and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The study highlights that neurodegeneration, characterized by the shrinkage of brain cells or cortical thinning, might be a crucial factor contributing to the risk of dementia. He adds that this finding adds to the expanding evidence of “modifiable” hazard factors for dementia, implying that there are many actions we can take or avoid to preserve brain health and decrease the likelihood of developing dementia in the future. Experts suggest tackling these modifiable risk factors could prevent approximately one-third of dementia cases.
Health Effects Of Obesity and Alzheimer’s Disease
According to experts, the recent study strengthens the connections between obesity and Alzheimer’s disease and highlights the occurrence of cortical thinning, the shrinkage of brain cells, as a potential cause.
According to a press release by Filip Morys, a postdoctoral researcher at the Montreal Neurological Institute in Canada and one of the study’s authors, losing weight in middle age can considerably lower the risk of acquiring Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Morys emphasized that this finding is crucial as it sheds light on a preventable risk factor for these debilitating conditions and highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy weight in mid-life. He further stated that reducing weight can prevent the onset of these diseases and improve overall brain health and function, thereby increasing the chances of leading a healthy and fulfilling life.
Therefore, the study results hold immense significance in dementia research and further support the importance of a healthy lifestyle in reducing the risk of producing neurodegenerative disorders. The study emphasizes the need for more awareness and education about the link between obesity & Alzheimer’s disease and the importance of maintaining a healthy weight to prevent these conditions.
Being Overweight In 50’s or Middle Age
Being overweight in mid-life can lead to various health problems decades later. A study published in BMJ Open found that individuals with a higher BMI were more susceptible to premature frailty, which increases the likelihood of falling, getting injured, and requiring hospitalization, among other complications.
It is widely recognized that obesity is the leading modifiable risk factor for dementia in the US.
This study only reinforces the importance of maintaining a healthy weight in mid-life to prevent the onset of frailty and other health problems that may arise in the future. It also highlights the need for awareness and education about the long-term effects of obesity on health and how it can be prevented through lifestyle changes and weight management.
Both women and men are affected by obesity, but midlife is when most women tend to be overweight. The North American Menopause Society reported that carrying more weight elevates the likelihood of developing the cardiovascular disorder, type-two diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and certain forms of cancer. Several factors contribute to weight gain during mid-life, including:
- Slowing metabolism
- Lean body mass decreases & body fat increases – and fat burns fewer calories than the muscle do
- Decrease in the physical activities
How To Prevent Weight Gain?
Maintaining a healthy weight and preventing obesity requires implementing various strategies, as outlined by Harvard Health.
- Enhancing your diet with wholesome foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats & proteins
- Limiting consumption of unhealthy foods, including refined grains & sugars, red meat, white potatoes, & processed meats
- Boosting physical activity
- Minimizing sedentary behavior throughout the day
- Enhancing sleep quality
- Managing stress levels.
Read more tips to prevent obesity here. Top 5 Science-Backed Ways To Prevent Obesity that You Need to Know