Alzheimer’s sometimes is so bad in or elderly that they turn into invalids and caregiver services would be needed. Studies in different caregiver services in Illinois, statistics show that 220,000 people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s in 2016, and it will be at about 260,000 people by 2025.
Alzheimer’s also present in 60% to 70% of the cases of dementia. Dementia is different from Alzheimer’s. Dementia is an umbrella term that refers to a set of symptoms that are linked to cognitive decline due to aging. There is no cure for both dementia and Alzheimer’s, but there are efforts to prevent them.
What is Alzheimer’s?
It is a neurodegenerative disease that starts slowly and worsens over time. It is the shrinking or atrophy of the brain that affects its function. At first is the effects of aging, the symptoms include minor short term memory loss, such as forgetting things, misplacing items and being unable to remember exact details of events. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease there are episodes of forgetfulness, confusion, and forgetting the names of family and friends. In the middle stage of AD, the patient will have even more difficulty in remember anything recently learned, are confused more often, has difficulty sleeping, and might not know where they, which gets them lost. In the late stage, the patient will have problems speaking, has poor thinking abilities, seems more abusive, and repeats the same conversations. As it grows worse and the person’s condition declines, they withdraw from family and society, and their bodily functions are lost, and they die. The life expectance of a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is usually three to nine years.
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What causes Alzheimer’s Disease?
It is still unknown and AD is still so poorly understood, but 1% to 5% of cases are identified to be genetic. It is also caused by age, and lifestyle, such as cardiovascular diseases caused by smoking, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It can also be caused by hitting one’s head too many times, anti-anxiety medication, sleep deprivation, and loneliness.
How can we prevent Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s can be prevented by healthy habits, such as eating right, staying active both physically and mentally, and keeping your stress levels in check.
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Regularly exercising can reduce the risk of developing AD by 50%, and slows down whatever cognitive problems that have started developing. You can keep physically healthy by having at least 150 minutes of exercise with moderate intensity a week. Anything that gets your heart rate up is good, from cardio to strength workout, anything from walking to swimming, or even getting out and gardening is good, anything that will let you move around. Moving around will help you maintain the health of your brain. This will also help the elderly maintain their balance, as injuries from falls increase the risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Yoga is a good exercise for balance.
Alzheimer’s is sometimes called the diabetes of the brain, and there is information that suggests that metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance have a strong link with the signal processing system of the body.
Limit dairy and meat, and eat more greens and beans, whole grains, and olive oil. Eating dark berries, fatty fish, soy products, drinking green tea daily, and consuming ginger protect the brain cells from damage. Avoid trans-fats and saturated fats, from full fat dairy, red meat, fried, fast, packaged, and processed foods. Eat more fruits, and vegetables of all colors, and avoid sugary food and carbs, especially white flour.
Staying mentally active can reduce the risk of developing dementia. Use your brain, or you will lose it. You can stay mentally active by communicating and interacting with others, by learning something new like a new language, or a musical instrument, reading a book, playing board games, or find a new hobby. The more challenging it is, the better your brain works. Try out puzzles and riddles, something that will make you think like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or Scrabble, or practice memorizing things, such as poems.
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If you establish a schedule for your sleep, your brain will register this as a rhythm, and it will turn into a habit. Napping might be a good way to recharge, but it will make insomnia worse for the elderly. Don’t nap if you have trouble sleeping at night, or limit your naps to thirty minutes. Don’t use computers or watch TV before bed either, as those are stimulants and use of electronic gadgets can lead to difficulties in falling asleep.
Stress stresses out your brain too, which causes your memory areas to shrink and can hamper the cell grown in your brain. That increases the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. If you’re stressed, take a few slow, deep breaths. Taking a breath can lower your stress levels. Don’t put off vacations either, and if you can’t afford to be away that long, do something relaxing every day, like yoga, or a long, soothing soak in the tub. Prioritize your relaxation. Praying, reflection, mediation, and spiritual fulfillment and practicing religion may reduce stress for some. Have fun, too. All work and no play is not good for the brain. Make time for the things that bring you happiness and joy, like your hobbies. And remember, laughter is the best medicine.
Communicate and interact with others like volunteering at the community, joining social groups, getting to know the neighbors, or maybe if you’re not scared of technology, join Facebook. Going out and visiting museums, parks, and watching movies are good activities, too. Having a family member or a friend to spent time together with is great. Do something you enjoy together, or try something new to keep things interesting.
Some of the other tips to prevent Alzheimer’s is to stop smoking, checking and keeping your blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels low, keeping a healthy weight, and drinking moderately.
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