Chris Hemsworth has revealed that he is taking a break from acting following the discovery that he has 10 times the average risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease because of his genetic makeup.
The Thor actor made the discovery while filming a TV series called Limitless in which he takes on wild challeges to improve his body enough to prolong his life.
Hemsworth, 39, told Vanity Fair the diagnosis was his “biggest fear”, but said: “It’s not like I’ve been handed my resignation.”
He decided to share the news to motivate people “to take better care of themselves” and highlight preventative steps against Alzheimer’s.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
While the cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown, it is a progressive neurological disease that affects multiple brain functions, including memory. The NHS cites factors that increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s as ageing, a family history of the disease, prior severe head injuries and a lifestyle associated with cardiovascular disease.
What are the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?
As it is a progressive condition, symptoms generally develop gradually and become more severe over the course of a few years.
The first sign of Alzheimer’s is minor memory problems like forgetting about recent conversations or events or the names of places and objects.
As the condition develops, the memory will become progressively worse and other symptoms, like getting lost in familiar places, personality changes (likely to become aggressive or suspicious of others) and problems with speech and language, are likely to surface.
Who is affected by Alzheimer’s disease?
Age is a big factor when it comes to being more likely to have the disease and it is more common in those over 65 – with one in 14 people having some form of dementia. This increases to one in 6 when you are over 80. It is more likely to affect women than men.
How is Alzheimer’s disease treated?
Receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis early on is key – but this can be tricky as the disease progresses slowly at first. Once diagnosed, medication can help relieve some of the symptoms and slow down the progression.
Can Alzheimer’s disease be prevented?
As the cause of Alzheimer is is not known, there is no known way to prevent the condition. Yet, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of dementia such as moderating your alcohol intake, cutting out cigarettes, eating a healthy, balanced diet and keeping your mind and body active.
For more information, visit the NHS Alzheimer’s disease page