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This week we’ve been talking about Dementia/Alzheimer’s in The Group and if there’s one point I want to make, it’s that Dementia is not just an ‘old persons’ disease.

And by the way, what’s the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Dementia is a brain disorder that affects communication and performance of daily activities and Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that specifically affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language.” 

The fully fledged result of Dementia is most apparent in later years i.e. memory loss (pretty much all of us know have a grandparent or similar with this devastating condition) however the gradual brain degeneration can begin way back in early adulthood so all of this applies to us, no matter what our age!

Mother’s with sons particularly read on

We’ve only got to consider our footballers and the head knocks that they endure.  The USA has had some huge legal cases with sports related head injuries and brain damage, and the risk is the same in Australian sport.

“Concussion in a person’s 20’s creates 60% higher risk of Dementia” Lancet study finds. 

Another reason to take control of what our kids are being exposed to in normal ‘society.’  But where do we draw the line? Sport in Australia and the USA is huge business so much so that sadly the medical facts are being hidden under a heaps of rebuff by the sports industries across the world. 

“If 10 percent of mothers in this country would begin to perceive football as a dangerous sport, that is the end of football.” (Alzheimer’s.net)

If you haven’t yet watched the movie ‘Concussion’ then this will put you in the know of how the sport industries really work to protect the industry at all costs!

What we know about brain injury and dementia

“As it was found in a September 2012 in America study published in Neurology, from data gathered on 3,439 ex-professional football players, average age 57 years, who had played during at least five seasons from 1959 to 1988 for the NFL had triple the risk of death caused by diseases that destroy or damage brain cells compared to other people and four a times greater risk of dying from ALS or Alzheimer’s disease.”

And let’s not forget that the NFL reached a $765 million settlement in 2013, over concussion-related brain injuries among its 18,000 retired players, agreeing to compensate victims, pay for medical exams and underwrite research.

Along with head injuries, there are other lifestyle habits that we do now know, which puts us into a greater risk category for Dementia.

The information below is taken from Dr Nate Bergman who is absolutely convinced that Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases are generally treatable and reversible.  We just need to know what to do.

Below is a quick quiz to check if you’re in the higher risk category and then what to do about it.

Top 5 things you can do to improve your memory and slow down or reverse Alzheimer’s

BUT FIRST – take this survey to assess your risk of developing dementia or other memory disorder

  • Do I get LESS than 20-30 minutes of vigorous physical activity where I break a sweat or get winded/breathless (exercise, dancing, yard work, etc) at least 2 or more times a week? i.e., your answer is YES if you do NOT do this twice a week or more.
  • Assuming I eat 20-21 meals in a week…do more than 7 of them include processed foods (white flour, sugars like pastries, boxed cereals, chips) or “fast food.”
  • Do I weigh much more than I did when I was 18 years old (assuming you weren’t overweight at age 18)? Am I overweight now?
  • Do I sleep LESS than 6.5 hours per night?
  • Do I wake up in the morning NOT feeling refreshed?
  • Do I feel tired and/or sluggish throughout the day?
  • Do I experience “brain fog”?
  • Do I feel like my life is stressful or that I don’t have enough time for the things that I want to do?
  • Am I taking medications for conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or pre-diabetes)?
  • Am I NOT making an effort to learn a new skill most days of the week or am I actively seeking to get better at a skill I am already proficient in?
  • Am I NOT regularly (more than once or twice a week) involved in social engagements with my family or friends?
  • Am I forgetting to pay bills or doing many other things on time?
  • Am I getting lost while out driving, or slightly disoriented on what used to be familiar routes?
  • Am I forgetting how to do familiar tasks or how to use familiar appliances or electronics (like washing machine, computer, DVD that were once easy for me?
  • Do those I have closer relationships with tell me that I repeat the same stories or ask the same questions?
  • Am I forgetting names of things, but feel like the words are on the tip of my tongue?

if you answered YES to 3 or more of these questions then you probably want to get more serious about structuring your life to employ the following prevention strategies (or at least some of them if you’re doing it already).

5 Ways to Prevent Alzheimer’s and improve your memory

Here are some scientifically informed brain basics that everyone should be applying to their lives. Whether you are having brain dysfunction or want to proactively prevent it – these apply to you! Some are obvious, others are less obvious when you read the fine print.

1) Move your body. Call it exercise, movement, or whatever you want. The bottom line here is to get your heart rate up. We are learning that the body and the brain are one system (who woulda thunk it!?) and that what is good for the body is almost always good for the brain.

2) Exercise your brain. Cognitive stimulation. This can get a little too technical but the best thing you can do for your brain is to be learning new things for some portion of each and every day.  Learn a new language. Travel. Start writing or painting. Even getting together with friends, particularly in groups of more than two. All of these are great ways to build a better brain. If you are into computerized brain games, BrainHq.com and Lumosity.com seem to be gaining some traction to improve certain types of memory.

3) Be aware of what you eat. This is the easiest one to recommend and often the most challenging to do. Basically, you want to eat “around the edges” of the supermarket. The edges are typically where the fresh, real foods are. Buy things that can’t stay on your shelves without refrigeration for very long. Stay away from highly processed foods with white flour and sugar. Check out my holistic health online program where you can get in control of your health once and for all.

4) Manage stress. For some reason in this age of abundance and technology so many of us seem to be living by the seat of pants and under duress. If this is an issue, and you know who you are, learn to slow down at regular points in your day. Any form of meditation or mindfulness will do.

5) Emphasize quality sleep – This is a really interesting one. It is now being suggested that sleep disorders can be an early sign of dementia. But by no means does this mean you have dementia just because you may have trouble sleeping. In general you should be getting between 6.5-8 hours of sleep. You shouldn’t have too much trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. If you are a big snorer, restless sleeper, wake up choking, or simply wake up still feeling tired even after 8 hours…it’s worth some more investigation. Check out the works of Drs Rachel Salas at Johns Hopkins and Penelope “Penny” Lewis to investigate your own issues to determine deeper causes for sleep disturbance and what to do about it.

I hope this helps you and your family.  If you’re a woman and/or mother reading this, and would like more help with your own health such as more energy, better sleep, less feelings of stress, better weight management or help with other healthy issues, I invite you to check out my new online health program for women’s health HERE!

 

Comments
  • degierjordy
    Reply

    The dementia figures are an under-estimation, as many people who have dementia do not qualify for the dementia and cognition supplement.

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