Excessive weight and too much body fat in particular, have a well-documented connection to a number of health problems including: heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. New research from Illinois has discovered yet another reason belly fat may be detrimental to our health. Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago examined the effects of excess abdominal fat and memory, and uncovered an alarming link.  The study found that Middle aged individuals with high belly fat are 3.6 times more likely than those without to experience memory loss and dementia in old age. Researchers were able to identify a specific protein in the body responsible for memory loss. The protein is called PPARalpha and it metabolizes fat in the liver, that same protein is utilized by the brain for functionality of the area that controls memory and learning. People who consume a high fat diet, tend to have more abdominal fat, and thus require more of the protein to metabolize the excess fat. When the liver runs out of protein, it scavenges the rest of the body for more, including the brain, which then starves the brain of the protein and leads to decreased functionality.

How can I avoid this?

Excess abdominal fat is often accepted as “inevitable” in old age, but the reality is, allowing those extra pounds to linger can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health. Maintaining a healthy diet during your middle aged years makes a big difference on the quality of life in your elderly years. Taking time to exercise regularly, engage in mental stimulation, and keep the excess belly fat off will help lead to healthier senior years, rather than ones filled with slipping health.

The search to understand Alzheimer’s and dementia is played out every day in research labs across the country, with scientists desperately trying to find anything that will help prevent, slow, or reverse the process. Dementia affects more than 5 million Americans, and that number is expected to triple by 2050, on top of the cost of dementia care doubling in the next two decadesPreparing for the possibility of this type of situation is crucial in this day and age, as technology helps us live longer than ever before. With our longer lives come chronic diseases that necessitate custodial or medical care, which can be quite expensive. Establishing a plan ahead of time will help you avoid any financial crisis, should you be diagnosed with dementia or suffer some other type of long term care need.

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