Dr. Oz announces mother has Alzheimer's disease, urges viewers to take preventative actions

Dr. Mehmet Oz announced Monday that his 80-year-old mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, urging viewers to take preventative action as early as possible.

Dr. Oz told “Fox & Friends” that his mother “is starting to forget simple things," such as the birth of her fourth grandchild.

Dr. Oz said that there are about six million people in America with Alzheimer’s disease and 16 million taking care of them.

“When we have a population where so many of us are already at risk and so many of us are going to live nice long lives, we don’t want to have a nation of Alzheimer’s patients. ... You’ve got to diagnose the problem in a timely fashion or we don’t have a chance,” he said, warning that one in four Americans are predisposed to the gene that leads to Alzheimer's.

One of the preventative measures he encouraged was losing weight. He said: “If you have a big belly then it means you’re going to have a small brain, which leads directly to cognitive dysfunction.”

A study published earlier this year in a journal of the American Academy of Neurology found a link between high body mass index (BMI), high waist-to-hip ratio and shrinkage in brain volume.

Oz went on to say, “Cholesterol issues are not just problems for your heart, there are problems for your brain and problems in ways you don’t know.”

Pregnant women were also advised by Oz to “start doing preventive work” for their child.

“The earlier you intervene on the child, the less of a chance you’re going to have a problem as you get into older age,” he said, expressing the hope that the onset of dementia can be delayed if people take the right preventative steps.

“We’re making some progress with new drugs, but that’s not where the solution is going to be. The solution is going to be preventing the problem."

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