What we can learn from a music legend's dementia battle
Glen Campbell wasn't just a country music legend.
After all, the singer and guitarist worked with everyone from Frank Sinatra to the Beach Boys, performing in everything from pop to rock to gospel.
So, fans of music in every genre are mourning his loss to Alzheimer's disease.
But more than a musical icon, Campbell spent his last years putting a public face on a disease that so many people battle in private.
And that, more than any hit song... more than "Rhinestone Cowboy" or "Wichita Lineman"... might be his ultimate legacy.
Even after his diagnosis, he continued to work, tour, and give interviews sharing his struggle. Yet as his death at the age of 81 painfully shows, the mainstream still has no lasting treatments for this disease... and no cure.
But that doesn't mean you have to suffer his fate.
New research reveals that at least HALF of all Alzheimer's cases are brought on by lifestyle issues that are COMPLETELY within your control.
For example, when you sit around doing nothing all day, you lose more than just muscle.
Your brain can turn to mush!
Being sedentary is a major risk factor for Alzheimer's, and it's something you can fix as easily as getting up and going for a walk. That daily activity alone will slash your Alzheimer's risk by up to 65 percent, according to the new study.
Good eating goes hand-in-hand with good activity, and the study finds a healthy diet will cut your Alzheimer's risk by nearly a third.
That's not the only way to protect your brain.
If you're a drinker, cut back or quit completely.
While some studies claim that "light" or "moderate" drinking can prevent Alzheimer's, that's not quite the full story. Some studies show drinking can actually increase your risk, and heavy drinking especially is a major risk factor for the disease.
Other risk factors include many of the "usual suspects" such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and poor kidney function as well as high blood sugar (especially if you have diabetes).
Glen Campbell had a very public battle with alcohol and illicit drugs. It's not clear if his bad habits played a role in his disease, but they certainly didn't do him any favors.
All of these are lifestyle conditions, and that means you have the power to bring all of them under control.
Combine these lifestyle fixes with brain-protecting nutrients such as B12, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids, and you can bring your dementia risk down dramatically.
If you're healthy enough to read this letter, then it's not too late for you to make some changes and pick up these healthy habits.
Glenn Campbell helped raise awareness for this disease like few other stars. His public battle -- and heartbreaking end -- show what's on the line.
Now, let's show him something in return: the power of his legacy. Let's take these simple steps that can do something drugs haven't... and finally reduce the number of people living with Alzheimer's.