Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by a steady degeneration of brain cells and tissues leading to memory loss and decrease mental capacities. The primary cause of Alzheimer’s is unknown, but several factors have been associated to increase the risk of developing this disease. Here are some facts you should know.
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The conditions listed below are linked to the development of this disease.Genetics. It has been studied that an individual has a risk of acquiring this disease if he has first degree relatives with Alzheimer’s.
- Age. People who develop Alzheimer’s are mostly those above 65 years old.
- Underlying medical conditions. An individual with high cholesterol levels and blood pressure is at greater risk than those who are not. People with uncontrolled blood sugar levels are also at risk of having this condition.
- Chronic Stress
Early diagnosis is very important in treating Alzheimer’s. Here are the things you should watch out for.
Memory loss. It’s normal to have memory lapses from time to time. Memory loss in Alzheimer’s is so severe that an individual’s daily functioning is affected.
Expressive Aphasia is a condition where the patient is unable to find the words to express himself. As the disease progresses, he will eventually develop receptive aphasia, the inability to understand conveyed messages.
Disorientation on places, time and dates. The patient may become disoriented even in a familiar environment like his bedroom.
Inability to perform Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Memory loss, aphasia and decrease mental capacities will affect the person’s normal day to day activities. He won’t be able to perform tasks as simple as taking a shower.
Personality changes. Because of all the other symptoms, The patient may experience mood swings, become distrustful, develop depression and anxiety. He may also withdraw from his social circle.
Anyone can have Alzheimer’s. To reduce your risk of having this condition, it’s important to keep your body and mind healthy. Here are some tips you can follow.
Control Underlying Health Conditions
Manage your cholesterol and blood sugar levels properly. It’s also important to frequently monitor your blood pressure. Hypertension and Diabetes are said to increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Heart, liver and kidney diseases also increase your risk. Obesity is also a factor for the development of this condition.
Keeping yourself physically active and fit will effectively control your weight. Exercise helps maintain the proper functioning of your brain. Have a moderate exercise routine. Do this 3 -5 times a week. Brisk walking is an example of a moderate exercise. Aerobic and strength work out routines are also good examples.
Try to avoid processed foods as they contain chemicals that are harmful to your brain and body. Take enough fruits and vegetables everyday. They provide vitamins and anti-oxidants that will help eliminate toxins in your system.
Take Vitamin Supplements
It has been studied that Folic acid and vitamin B12 help maintain and improve your brain functions. Before taking supplements, it’s wise to consult your doctor. Taking medications and supplements at the same time may produce harmful drug interactions.
Stimulate your Brain
Exercise your mind by learning something new everyday. Read a book or learn to play a new instrument. Improve your memory by memorizing simple things like the colors of a rainbow or the past presidents of your country. You may also try counting backwards, starting from 50 -1 and then 100-1. Solving puzzles and brain teasers is also a good way of maintaining good brain functions.
Get Enough Sleep
Your brain needs sleep for it to be able to rest, process, store and recall information. Lack of sleep causes damage to your brain and central nervous system.
Stress may cause an imbalance in your brain. Keep your stress level under control by following relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises and regular meditation.
Having a healthy lifestyle is the key to reducing your risk of acquiring Alzheimer’s disease. Avoid unhealthy habits and visit your doctor regularly.