The number of people age 65 and older is expected to double to over 71 million by 2030, which will dramatically increase the number of people living with diseases associated with aging. According to a new report, Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging, environmental factors are key drivers in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, two of the most common degenerative diseases of the brain.
Importantly, the report also demonstrates that the risks for both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s can be dramatically reduced by making positive choices for healthy living.
Asserting that aging begins at conception, the report looks at factors that accumulate over a lifetime of exposure, starting in the womb. Exposure to toxic chemicals is identified as a factor that set the stage for later development of neurological and other chronic diseases in the “Western disease cluster,” including diabetes, cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease and asthma.
Specific environmental risks factors in the development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases include exposure to lead, air pollution, pesticides, bisphenol A, aluminum, PCBs, industrial emissions and solvents.
NBC’s Today Show featured the report in a segment with chief medical editor, Nancy Synderman.
Reducing exposure to toxic chemicals, along with eating healthy and nutritious food, staying active both mentally and physically, and remaining socially engaged with family, friends, and community are recommended to reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases of the Western disease cluster.
The report was jointly published by the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Science and Environmental Health Network.