Alzheimer’s disease is also called Senile Dementia.
The way doctors would describe it is that it is what is called a ‘neurodegenerative disease’. What does that mean? It means this is a disease which worsens over time and affects the functioning of the brain. Memory loss, problems with speech, mood swings and eventually the shutting down of bodily systems are the primary symptoms. Over time a patient will lose the motivation to take care of themselves, will withdraw from family and friends and may lose the cherished memories of their lives and fail to recognize loved ones. As the writer of this article has personally seen, it is a traumatic experience. However hope is not lost. Research to find a lasting cure for this disease continues apace. However, studies have also shown that there are many things one can do to reduce the likelihood of developing this disease. Since this disease primarily affects old people, a change in lifestyle while you are still young and healthy can go a long way to reduce the threat of this disease. We shall divide the ways in which we can prevent this disease into two categories; changes in diet and changes in lifestyle.
Changes in Diet: 1. Cut down on sugar. Packaged foods which have high sugar content can increase your blood sugar. Try eating more green leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach etc. (think Popeye) and fruits like apples (yes we know the saying.) Fruits and vegetables have anti-oxidants which are good for the brain.
- Avoid trans-fats. Try and cut down on fast-food and fried food, not just for your weight but also for your brain. Load up on Omega-3 fats which can fight dementia by reducing “beta-amyloid plaques”. Cold-water fish (tuna, salmon), fish oil and hemp seeds are great sources for these healthy fats.
- Drink a cup of tea (preferably green or oolong) or coffee a day and most importantly, as anyone living away from home can tell you, fresh home-cooked meals should always be high on your diet chart.
Changes in Lifestyle: 1. Exercise regularly, however be sure that simply lifting weights is not ideal. Focus on cardio, jogging and swimming. This in combination with moderate weight training is both good for muscle mass and your brain.
- Get adequate sleep. There are no two ways about this. Stress plays an important role in aggravating brain disorders so yoga, meditation and good sleeping patterns are essential to combat stress.
- Mental stimulation is essential to keep your brain in working order. Try learning something new (a language, a musical instrument) and take up a hobby for solving riddles, puzzles and strategy games. Practice your ability to memorize details. And finally, indulge in social interactions you enjoy. It is hugely beneficial to your mental health. Join a social club or keep in touch with old friends over phone and Facebook (yes we’re actually telling you that getting on Facebook can be healthy).
While there is no sure shot cure for Alzheimer’s yet, these methods can help protect you and your loved ones from the dangers of this disease.