Irregular Heartbeat and Alzheimer’s

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heart-beat Yesterday I just happened to come across an article at the Forbes Magazine website saying that an abnormal heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation is tied to development of Alzheimer’s disease later in life.  Now this caught my attention as I have written about Alzheimer’s a few times and have always had an irregular heartbeat.  I basically ignore it as it is random and infrequent and is unrelated to stress or exercise.  In my case, my heart will just start beating out of sync, sometimes skipping several beats before thumping again with a much stronger than normal pulse.  I have been told that this form of irregular beat is not dangerous, except for occasional lightheadedness when it is occurring.  I am also pretty sure that the symptoms I have are not symptoms of atrial fibrillation, a condition that does seem to have some adverse medical consequences.

Still, because of my history, this article caught my attention and I read several other newspaper stories on the connection.  The claims are indeed stunning.  If a person under age 70 has a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, they are 130% more likely to develop some sort of dementia, usually Alzheimer’s.  The suspicion of researchers is that people with atrial fibrillation are having “mini strokes” without knowing it.  These mini strokes don’t cause any symptoms at the time, but may damage the brain in a way that leads to the increased chance of dementia later in life.

The connection is interesting as I recently encountered a situation where a very old acquaintance developed serious dementia almost overnight.  She is at least in her 90’s and until a month ago was normal in every apparent way, working in her garden, talking to me as always, even playing tennis.  Then this past week her son had her moved to a care facility.  I saw her the day before and she was completely unaware the reality of her surroundings.  Her son said there was no evidence of a stroke or anything, but I wondered since it happened so fast.

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Will Sig
1 Wilson Pon

Will, did you know that you can prevent the ‘atrial fibrillation’ by consuming the oatmeal everyday? The nutritionists discovered that the substances inside the oatmeal can inhibit the happening of artial fibrillation!

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2 Anna

Hey Will this is in fact very interesting. I know it makes you think, but I think you shouldn’t worry about it too much, you never know may be their stats are wrong as always, or misleading…more worries, more stress. All we can do is eat healthy, exercise our body and mind. I don’t know if you heard but in Japan they are promoting mind games to prevent Alzheimer’s. I don’t really know much about artial fibrillation, but please do take care of yourself. Anna 🙂

Annas last blog post..Wonders of Nature, The Grapefruit Tree Has Been Born

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