Did you step into your kitchen and forget what you needed there? Or perhaps that perfect punchline to the joke you’re sharing with a friend suddenly eludes you. You may be wondering if these brain short-circuits are normal or if they’re something you need to worry about.
Alzheimer’s disease is a feared condition that’s linked to excessive amounts of two proteins that destroy brain cells. Thinking about it likely plays upon your worst fears: losing your long- and short-term memory, being disoriented, and not recognizing your own family members.
Before you jump to any frightening conclusions, it’s important to note that not every cognitive slip-up is cause for alarm. Alzheimer’s may be the most prevalent dementia disease, but only 1% of cases have a genetic component. This means that you can do things to lower your risk and prevent it.
At The Well for Health, founder and progressive nurse practitioner Diane Parks provides one-on-one education as part of her focus for care. Here, we discuss preventive strategies you can adopt to do all you can to avoid dementia, and therefore Alzheimer’s.
Dementia symptoms caused by Alzheimer’s
One of the tricky things about dementia is that it has many varied, co-occurring symptoms. Typically they don’t all emerge at once, and you might not experience them all, but the symptom spectrum includes:
- Disorientation and confusion
- Problems with logical thinking and reasoning
- Personality changes
- Aggression, even paranoia
- Feelings of being overwhelmed by routine tasks and obligations
- Forgetfulness, even around the familiar
This symptom list may frighten you at first, but it’s important to know that if you’re armed with forethought, knowledge of your family history, and an openness to our counseling on prevention, you can become an empowered patient.
As to the specific cause of Alzheimer’s, it remains unknown. However, there’s growing thought that lifestyle factors may contribute to the development of this disease.
Steps to reduce Alzheimer’s risk
Practices thought to delay or help prevent Alzheimer’s disease should be as familiar to you as the healthy lifestyle habits you’ve heard about for years. The top five Alzheimer’s prevention tips are:
- Exercise regularly
- Keep your blood pressure in check
- Engage in cognitive training (puzzles, memory games, sewing, etc.)
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Maintain healthy relationships and connections
Research is ongoing, but a number of studies have shown that moving every day may help reduce cognitive decline, and the same thing is true for eating a whole foods-based diet rich in fruits and vegetables. These practices in turn help lower your blood pressure, and compromised vascular health has also been linked to Alzheimer’s.
The most enjoyable part of this anti-Alzheimer’s prescription is keeping your brain busy with puzzles, hobbies like playing a musical instrument, and spending time doing things with people you enjoy.
Because these tips are advised for staving off many other health conditions, they’re neither foreign nor unreasonably difficult. And knowing they could help defend you from an Alzheimer’s diagnosis may up your motivation factor exponentially.
Learn more about being proactive about your brain health
At the Well for Health, we want to see you reach optimum health and take joy from your life every day. Working to support your wellness is what we do, and what we love to do.
Learn more about making your brain more resilient as you age and lowering your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease by scheduling a consultation with us. Simply give our office a call or book an appointment online. We look forward to seeing yo