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Alzheimer’s Awareness Month: Josephine Chong’s CircleDNA Journey

6 Mins read

When I first became interested in obtaining DNA test results from CircleDNA, it had a lot to do with me being consistently preoccupied with brain health. I’ve always worried about my brain health because I’m often very forgetful and scatterbrained. 

Knowing that I struggle with memory retention and am often absent-minded is what caused me to fear for my future self. I found myself always worrying about my future state of mind. I’d think to myself, If I’m this forgetful now, how bad will it be when I’m older? 

When I envisioned my future self and my future state of mind, I couldn’t help but think about Alzheimer’s disease. Seeing my mother-in-law suffer from the onslaughts of dementia amplified my concern with my brain health. It got to the point where I just needed some answers. Since Alzheimer’s is one of the many diseases CircleDNA can inform you of your risk of developing, I decided to order my DNA testing kit and find out some important truths.

Knowledge is Power

Some people refer to DNA test results as ‘the scary truth’ because it can be frightening to find out you’re at risk for certain diseases. At the end of the day, however, knowledge is power. I decided to fight through the fear of finding out because I knew that having the information CircleDNA provided in my arsenal would ultimately help me plan for my future, and help me take better care of myself. 

I understand that not everyone is a natural truth seeker or ‘information seeker’ like I am, but the more you know about your DNA, the more capable you are of making well-informed life decisions.

There’s power in early awareness, and it’s also just nice to know the truth.

Don’t forget that obtaining detailed DNA test results is also a very important form of self-care, because you’ll be able to take care of yourself better if you know yourself better.

If you love yourself and you care about your well-being, it makes sense to want access to the knowledge and information that’s in these comprehensive DNA tests. The results contain coveted information about yourself that no therapist or doctor can tell you.

Josephine Chong’s CircleDNA Test Results: Am I At Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease?

Many people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s experienced changes happening in their brain function decades before they were diagnosed, and that’s why my forgetfulness made me fear for my future mental state.

My DNA test from CircleDNA confirmed that I do have a moderately high risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, as I have 1 copy of the APOE4 genetic mutation.

CircleDNA explained that having a single copy of the APOE4 gene increases my risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 3 times the average. An individual with 2 copies of the APOE4 gene, however, means they’d be 15 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. 

In other words, I didn’t get the worst news, but I didn’t get the best news either. However, it’s also important to remember that ‘moderate risk’ is not a death sentence, nor is it proof that my brain health will be poor later in life. Not everyone who has a copy of the APOE4 gene develops Alzheimer’s (and not everyone with 2 copies of the gene develop the disease, either!) 

Some people have the genetic makeup that puts them at risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases, but they never enter a neurodegenerative state. Essentially, you can beat the system by implementing healthy lifestyle choices, or you can simply luck out and not develop the disease you have the genetic makeup for developing. Being aware of the level of risk often makes all the difference.

Lifestyle Changes that Improve and Preserve Brain Health

CircleDNA’s wealth of information was the catalyst for me to start researching how to improve my brain health. I’m still young, and there are many changes I can make to promote better brain health and preserve brain health.

For example, I decided to start doing more mentally-stimulating activities. Think of this as exercise for your brain. (Regular physical exercise is great for brain health too, of course.)

In general, eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep promotes brain health. When it comes to eating, there are many ‘superfoods’ you can eat that are known for improving brain function and contributing to one’s brain health.

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For example, fatty fish (such as Salmon, Mackerel and Herring) is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. It’s these healthy fats that have been linked to lower one’s blood levels of beta-amyloid. You guessed it: beta-amyloid is the protein that forms damaging clumps in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Other great omega-3 sources include walnuts, avocados, oysters, sardines, anchovies and flax seeds. 

Blueberries and strawberries are another brain superfood. A study done at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that blueberries and strawberries can improve memory and delay memory decline if consumed regularly.

Green, leafy vegetables are also great for your brain health, as is green tea. My research tells me that my brain will thank me if I regularly consume some of these superfoods.

The prevention of many neurodegenerative diseases can be achieved earlier in life by consuming a healthy diet, so it’s wise not to wait until you’re older to start eating right. Many factors impact your brain health, which means there may be lifestyle changes you can implement to reduce your risk, and you can talk to your doctor about this.

Living in the Moment (and Living Better)

Sometimes the simplest answer is the right one. If anyone is ever worried about their future health, the answer is to live for today. Live in the moment, seize the day, and live better.

Go on more vacations. Steal more kisses. Watch more sunsets. And when you do, make sure you really take in those moments. Capture them in your heart. Be present in the moment, especially when it’s a special moment. Figure out what brings you joy, and do those things. Do them often. I can’t stress this enough. 

Planning for your future, however, is just as important.

How CircleDNA Tests Help Josephine Plan for the Future

CircleDNA results help you make sense of things and plan for the future: knowing that I am at risk of developing Alzheimer’s has made me look into long-term care facilities and insurance options. Additionally, knowing I could lose my memory has made me want to find ways to protect my memories.

I want to journal more. I want to write down great memories while they’re still fresh in my mind. I’ll journal about a fun weekend adventure as soon as I get home, while all the details are fresh in my brain, and that way I can capture those memories eternally. They’ll be in my journal forever, and I can relive my favourite memories whenever I want. I won’t let myself forget who I am, what my values are, or what my most cherished memories are.

Get to Know the Real You

How well do you know yourself? Knowing who you are is crucial for the quality of life. If you have an opportunity to get to know yourself better, why wouldn’t you? Personally speaking, if the information is available about me, I’ll naturally want access to that information.

In conclusion, I’m glad I chose to get access to the wealth of information about myself from CircleDNA, especially the bit about my risk of getting Alzheimer’s. Reading the results about my disease risk may have been a little nerve-wracking, but other components of my test results were quite enjoyable to read! It was especially fun to read about my ancestry composition. I found out I’m more Southern Han Chinese, which was very interesting to find out. 

The Premium test results include information about your personality traits, behaviour traits, physical traits, dietary needs, nutritional information, drug responses, family planning information and much more. With over 500 reports in 20 categories, I definitely got to know myself better. 

I’ll never stop wanting to learn more about myself. I know how important a strong sense of self is. I encourage all of you to access information about yourselves that can help you make better-informed life decisions to live your best life. Order your Premium DNA test here, and take care of yourself to the best of your ability.

Team CircleDNA
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The editorial team behind CircleMagazine, dedicated to bringing you bite-size health tips, real-life health stories and the latest genetic-related findings at this digital health hub.
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