Home » What women need to know about Alzheimer’s

What women need to know about Alzheimer’s

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This has been on my topic list for some time, and it is shocking the number of people who are going to be affected by Alzheimer’s over the next several decades.  I think it was best to bring an expert on for this, so I brought on Barbie Boules!

She is fabulous, and side note, you need to follow her on Instagram, and your mind will be blown! Barbie is all about metabolic health and cognitive health for women over 40, and some of the things she has uncovered are truly amazing. 


A little bit about Barbie, she specializes in the unique needs of women over 40. She focuses on helping her clients achieve optimal metabolic and cognitive fitness without the unnecessary and unsustainable rules of fad dieting.

This statistic shocks me 1 in 10 people are going to be impacted by either themselves or their inner circle.  But if you live to age 65, 1 in 9 people will develop dementia of some kind. And70% of that number is ⅔ of that is women!  That number is expected to triple in the next 25 years which means that a tremendous number of people will be affected by this disease.   In the last 20 years, more and more people were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and it was the grandparents. They’re older and it’s normal.  But now, it seems like more and more people are getting diagnosed with it younger.  Barbie believes that we are seeing it more because it’s being identified more and there is more awareness around it!

The important thing to remember about the neurodegenerative disease of any kind, the pathogenesis begins decades prior. We have signs and symptoms.  But it’s never too early to encourage people and our children to take good care of themselves.  We usually don’t think of this disease until we have symptoms and it’s too late and cannot reverse it.  We can maybe slow the decline, but we cannot do anything to reverse it right now.

What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia?
Alzheimer’s is a type of Dementia – 70% of the cases of Dementia are Alzheimer’s which is the most common type of dementia.  There are several other types of dementia, but this is the most common.  There is also Vascular Dementia and Lewy Body .  The way Alzheimer’s is typically diagnosed is an MRI and then also neuropsychological testing.
Those results from the 2 tests a neurologist can look at and say this is very likely Alzheimer’s type.

It is something that is like cancer, if we catch it early, there are things we can do to hopefully slow things down?
One of the things I wanted to bring up was a graphic Barbie posted. It is about a midlife woman with 3 paths we can take to end up with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. This graphic was very eye-opening for me. (see the links below)

What shocked me was that It is not mostly a hereditary thing.  Correct there are 3 genes that are called deterministic for Alzheimer’s. You are almost certain to get it if you have one of these 3 genes. You would know if you had this genetic predisposition. Because you would see it in your family.  APOE  Gene which has 3 different alleles; 2, 3 and 4. If you have 1 or 2 copies of APOE 4 you have an increased genetic risk of Alzheimer, however, it does not mean you will absolutely end up with it, it’s just an increased risk. Here is an Alzheimer’s fact sheet 

There are still lifestyle interventions and nutrition interventions you can implement to help reduce your risk.  There are also people whose brains appear to have a diseased looking brain but are behaving and living life completely normally. This is not common but it happens. Doctors call it Cognitive Reserve meaning your brain is very adept at finding ways around the diseased pieces. Which many believe comes from exercise, good sleep, proper nutrition, social connections, using your brain. It’s possible that you can in fact have the pathology yet your brain finds a way around it.

It comes down to resilience when it comes down to everything in your life. It’s being able to be adaptable in your life.  The adaptability that you believe this is how your life is or are you willing to be a little savvy.  There are 2 things a lot of people don’t realize or think about that is really indicative of your longevity.  Your personal quality to bounce or recover in a situation and your social connection and resilience.  If you have these nailed, the odds of doing really well are pretty guaranteed.

You are an RD, how did you get into this brain stuff. What led you down this path?
I’ve been a dietitian for almost 25 years and I’ve always been more interested in women’s health. As I got older it put me in a place where I recognized menopause as a very distinct time in our life of real opportunity to affect change for the next several decades.

The most common thing that comes up over and over again is an increased risk of poor metabolic health.
●      Blood pressure
●      Blood sugar
●      Blood lipids
●      Body composition changes
And I began to realize how much that impacted the brain.   Your brain rests on your metabolic health.  And how women change in midlife, this can ultimately really impact our brain in a way that may not significantly impact men.  This stuff is not discussed and if I did not do this for a living I would not know about this.

It is taboo and no one talks about menopause. More and more I am seeing more funding that is going to research menopause, what happens, the brain health piece, and the metabolic piece.  Hopefully, when we are our mother’s age there will be a lot more that can be done and certainly for our children.

Barbie has 3 different paths that could potentially lead to Alzheimer’s. See graphic

The first – Decrease in Estrogen. – Estrogen changes when we go into menopause and we never realize ALL of the things estrogen does in our bodies. The fact that it has that big of an impact on my brain blew me away.  A very direct effect on our brains because there are so many estrogen receptors and if that is not firing, we are just dim. That is brain fog, memory issues, walking into a room, and not knowing why you are there.

Fortunately, it starts to correct when you get past the year mark after menopause, your body starts to adapt.  HRT may help, it’s sort of inconclusive and may be beneficial but not for every woman.  Your brain lights up with estrogen and if it’s not there it’s not going to perform the way it used to.

Second – Belly fat. – Another natural cause of our hormones getting wonky, another big thing I am seeing is insulin resistance.  I don’t think many people understand that they eat their way into that.  Your insulin can be high before your blood sugar and HIC A1C looks different.  In addition, high triglycerides are another market your body is starting to struggle with. Paying attention to triglycerides and adding fasting insulin can give you an indication if your body starts to have a hard time handling the food I am giving it.

Third – Stress. – So many people discount stress. This is how my life is, I am not really stressed. There are some people for whom it is normal. SO many women are living in survival mode, and they don’t even realize it.  We really want to make sure we pay attention to our stress levels.  Emotional and mental stress manifests physically 100% of the time.  It is chemical and a chemical reaction.  We don’t understand the impact of stress and the mind-body connection.  We don’t understand how it interacts with our bodies.  Stress actually atrophies the brain and shrinks brain tissue.  We need to gain the skills to deal with stress property.  Sleep and stress go hand in hand. It’s hard to get through sleep when we are constantly stressed and even during menopause.

You have new needs in perimenopause and menopause and it’s a matter of embracing that and identifying what your unique needs are.  What you think are 3 individual acts all go together and we don’t always realize this.  I don’t think you realize the implications of every little thing we do.  We have to chip away at little things at a time.  So, which of the 3 above are you going to focus on first?

The vast majority of people already have all of the tools they need. They just need to look a little more inward.  You won’t need to spend a lot of money.  You won’t need to buy gadgets and do all the things.  Just try to do the best you can with your nutrition, your exercise, and managing your stress.  If you do this, you are doing far better than most people.

You have to follow Barbie because she isn’t a fear-monger, she is just giving you the information she thinks you should know.  She gives you her take and guides you on where to go to read more and research more to form your own opinion.  A way to identify a red flag immediately when it comes to other accounts, real experts in nutrition don’t speak in absolutes. We talk about things that are associated with, correlated with, linked to, and may cause.  It is almost NEVER; This is what you do, this is why you do it, never eat this always eat this.  Because that is just not true.  Nothing is certain. No one thing is right for any 2 people. You are your own unique person with unique physiology!

What is one thing that makes you feel magical?
I feel like when my children (20 and 15) are together and laughing together, 100% that makes me feel magical. That happens frequently. But if it’s a solo thing, the beach! Time on the beach!

Today, I want to address a topic that holds immense significance and personal resonance in my life: Alzheimer’s disease. I reflect on the profound impact this condition has had on my own family, as well as the lives of those close to me.

My grandfather battled Alzheimer’s during his final years. Witnessing his gradual loss of memories and loss of his sense of humor was devastating. Currently, my mother-in-law is confronting the challenges of advanced dementia. The weight of her struggle only serves to underscore the urgency of our collective action.
Sadly, the story of Alzheimer’s continues to unfold tragically around me. A dear friend of mine lost his wife to early onset Alzheimer’s. In her memory, he organizes an annual fundraiser, dedicated to raising both awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s research.

I am humbled and grateful to be part of a community that genuinely cares about the well-being of others.
If you are moved by this cause and wish to make a contribution, please visit the link below to donate and support the battle against Alzheimer’s. Every act of kindness and generosity counts, and your support can bring us closer to a world where the devastating impact of this disease is significantly reduced.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

Blue Fin Blow Out — Alzheimer’s Donation


Facebook Page:

Facebook Group:



Operation Consistency Challenge:

Alzheimer’s stats:
https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures#:~:text=An estimated 6.7 million Americans,older (10.7%25) has Alzheimer’s

Instagram Graphic By Barbie:

Barbie’s Instagram Account:


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