Alzheimer’s Dementia

Dr. Bitner on Fox 17: Tips to Lower Alzheimer’s Dementia Risk

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s Dementia are women. While there are hereditary risk factors, such as relatives with the disease as well as an increased risk with age, there are also a number of modifiable risk factors that can be managed in midlife. June is Alzheimer’s Dementia and Brain Health Awareness Month, and this week on Fox 17, Dr. Bitner discusses tips to reduce risk factors and improve brain health as we age.

Fact #1:

With Alzheimer’s Dementia (AD), there is no difference in the incidence of diagnosis between men and women. While it looks like the disease affects more women overall, this is actually due to life expectancy. Women have a higher life expectancy rate, so as the population ages, more women are present than men. Aging increases the likelihood of getting AD. 10% of people over the age of 65 have AD, increasing to 33% of people over the age of 85.

Fact #2:

Risk factors for dementia that cannot be changed include age and having a first-degree relative with Alzheimer’s Dementia. Modifiable risk factors include midlife high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar including pre-diabetes and diabetes, weight gain, smoking, second-hand smoke, and air pollution. 

Patient Story:

Jane* came in for an appointment and discussed how her mom currently had Alzheimer’s. Jane was struggling to watch her mom’s memory decline and personality change. She said, “Please tell me I don’t have to have it, too.” 

Dr. Bitner reminded Jane that having a first-degree relative with the disease is only one risk factor, and there are many other factors within Jane’s control. Dr. Bitner asked Jane: 

  • What is your goal? 
  • How are you taking care of your body now to set yourself up for later in life? 
  • Are you willing to commit to changing your health habits and lifestyle? 


Together, they developed a plan that Jane would follow each day. She committed to losing weight, getting her blood sugar levels down, increasing her fiber intake, and improving her sleep. 

Health Tip of the Week

Take stock of your current health, make a plan, and commit to your plan! Make sure that your blood pressure is less or equal to 120/70, your A1C (blood sugar over three months) is under 5.7, and your cholesterol is in the normal zone. These goals can be achieved through diet and exercise or with the help of a statin. Also, prioritize moving every day and sleeping at least 7 hours most nights. Better brain health is possible! 

Watch the full segment.