Newbie 3/4

Newcomer introductions, personal anecdotes, caregiver issues, lab results, and n=1 experimentation.
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kayliec2003
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Newbie 3/4

Post by kayliec2003 »

I am so thankful that I stumbled upon this incredible site after finding out I am a 3/4 carrier. When I opened my 23 and Me results and saw the health report announcing my APOE4 carrier status, I X-ed out of the page and ignored it for about a month. When I finally could bring myself to login again, and saw that the health report wasn't a figment of my imagination, I was pretty devastated. I have been struggling with my mother's Parkinson's and dementia for the past 3 years. She is currently living in memory care and the facility is not able to give her the level of care she needs due to her frequent falls. My heart is heavy and I know she will have to go to a nursing home soon. I am terrified that this is my future. I am 54, female, no health issues other than run of the mill allergies. I have started taken a whole regiment of various supplements, eating healthier (I love bread and carbs soooo much), and am struggling without my nightly glass of wine. I am not on any HRTs yet, but am in the beginning stages of menopause.
My main questions are regarding hormone replacement therapy and allergy medication. I had been taking a daily Zyzal, Levocetirizine, but I am eliminating it due to it being anticholinergic. I am totally confused as to what to do regarding HRT, but I need something!
I just wanted to say hello and give a big THANK YOU for this site...the abundance of information and advice is amazing.
NF52
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Re: Newbie 3/4

Post by NF52 »

kayliec2003 wrote: Sat Jul 02, 2022 9:39 pm I am so thankful that I stumbled upon this incredible site after finding out I am a 3/4 carrier. When I opened my 23 and Me results and saw the health report announcing my APOE4 carrier status, I X-ed out of the page and ignored it for about a month. When I finally could bring myself to login again, and saw that the health report wasn't a figment of my imagination, I was pretty devastated. I have been struggling with my mother's Parkinson's and dementia for the past 3 years. She is currently living in memory care and the facility is not able to give her the level of care she needs due to her frequent falls. My heart is heavy and I know she will have to go to a nursing home soon. I am terrified that this is my future. I am 54, female, no health issues other than run of the mill allergies. I have started taken a whole regiment of various supplements, eating healthier (I love bread and carbs soooo much), and am struggling without my nightly glass of wine. I am not on any HRTs yet, but am in the beginning stages of menopause.
My main questions are regarding hormone replacement therapy and allergy medication. I had been taking a daily Zyzal, Levocetirizine, but I am eliminating it due to it being anticholinergic. I am totally confused as to what to do regarding HRT, but I need something!
I just wanted to say hello and give a big THANK YOU for this site...the abundance of information and advice is amazing.
Welcome, kayliec2003!

As someone who could be your genetic cousin (right down to the "run of the mill allergies" and a mother who had Alzheimer's and eventually needed nursing home care when I was your age), I hope you don't mind if I offer a virtual hug.

Nothing really prepares us for having to make decisions like these for our parents, or for dealing with the inevitable fear of our own future. Your heavy heart is a tribute to your love and connection with your mother. Many of us have cared for parents and know how long these days and nights can be. Over time, I think many of us also see this as a time when we discovered how strong we were and how deep our love would be, to walk this path with them.

Our genetics and our family history do not, however, write our own story---especially with the vast changes in science, understanding of risk and opportunities for women to advocate for themselves. If your mother is in her late 70's or 80's, she likely grew up as either a Depression-era or WWII era girl, with many families struggling with poverty, living in areas with high air and water pollution, limited education beyond high school for girls.

You are likely someone who seeks out information, has social supports and occupational challenges (anyone who works today has those!) and who is already seeking ways to eat well. Adding exercise, if it's not something in your schedule, may be more helpful than stopping that one glass of wine! Here's an excerpt about the benefits of exercise in mid-life:
Prospective studies follow the health and behaviour of a group of people over time. Several prospective studies have looked at middle-aged people and the effects of physical exercise on their thinking and memory in later life. Combining the results of 11 studies shows that regular exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing dementia by about 30 per cent. For Alzheimer's disease specifically, the risk was reduced by 45 per cent.... In the short term, aerobic exercise can also improve the performance of healthy adults on thinking tests. Pulling together the results of 29 clinical trials, a month or more of regular aerobic exercise resulted in improvements in memory, attention and processing speed when compared with regular non-aerobic exercise such as stretching and toning.
https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dem ... l-exercise

You mention that you're in the "beginning stages of menopause". I wonder if you mean that you only recently stopped having periods, or still have occasional periods. At 54, it seems likely that you have been in "perimenopuase" for several years, during which estrogen levels fluctuate and eventually decline. I would suggest talking with your ob/gyn or primary care provider about HRT.

Here's a 2020 article with audio from a neurologist whose work I greatly respect: Dr. Richard Isaacson, formerly head of the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian. Why a Brain Doctor Asks About Hormone Replacement Therapy.

He is also the co-author of a 2021 article that I found helpful in sorting through recommendations for diets and supplements: Precision Nutrition for Alzheimer's Prevention in ApoE4 Carriers As you may have realized, one size doesn't fit all, and many smart people on this forum have found diets that have big principles in common (don't live on Coke and Cheetos, for example) but differ significantly in the details.

With two copies of ApoE 4 (making me an ApoE 4/4), I am still doing well at age 70, which is confirmed when I am tested for clinical trials on a battery of tests! (It also confirms that I still draw about as well as a 10 year old; something I have known since I was 20!)
You can find lots of wonderful advice in our Primer, written by a wonderful woman who is a practicing physician with ApoE 4/4 at age 60 and whose words I read and re-read when I was new to knowing my ApoE 4 status:

Here's just a sample from the beginning of her Primer:
I hope to give you hope that there is much we all can do to lower our risk of developing Alzheimer's....
It’s very scary to open up 23andMe results or run your raw data through Promethease or similar and see red words flashing at you “high risk”.... I promise the pain fades, and now I just live my life... The first thing is to stay calm and think carefully.
GENETICS IS NOT DESTINY. Not everybody with ApoE4 gets Alzheimer’s Disease...
The likelihood of someone my age with ApoE 3/4 getting Alzheimer's by age 85 (the average US lifespan) is only 20-25%, from a 2017 meta-analysis of population-based studies. That number should plummet with your generation, given improved diet, exercise, education and occupational choices for women, hormone replacement therapy and current prevention clinical trials.

And if you want to see tips and screen shots of how to Search or how to quote people (use the quote icon in the upper right corner of any post) try our How-To Guide

We're so glad you found our community and we're here for the tough times and the good times. Keep posting!
4/4 and still an optimist!
kayliec2003
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Re: Newbie 3/4

Post by kayliec2003 »

Thank you so much for the kind words and information. I realize I have quite a bit of reading to do this weekend! I forgot to mention that I do exercise regularly; yoga, Peloton, and walking. I am trying to add meditation into my daily routine....I may have to change my mantra to "genetics is NOT destiny"!!
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