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Alzheimer’s Disease Early Signs, Treatment & Prevention

Alzheimer’s Disease Early Signs, Treatment & Prevention

By Paulini Shinjo 
There are more than 6 million people over the age of 65 years old battling Alzheimer’s in the US. It is one of the leading causes of deaths in senior citizens around the world. Alzheimer’s often affects people over the age of 65 years old but may be found in those who are younger.
People who are under the age of 65 may be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and those who receive a diagnosis under the age of 65 are said to have early- or young-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s Disease International has stated that Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. It is known as a progressive neurological disorder that causes the brain to shrink(atrophy) and brain cells to die.  There are several signs that will indicate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Some of these are:

  1. Misplacing items
  2. Forgetting to take medicine, names of people and scheduled appointments.
  3. Getting lost.
  4. Forgetting the day and time.
  5. The inability to learn new things.
  6. Withdrawing socially.
  7. Repetition of questions and statements.
  8. A shortened attention span.
  9. Difficulty organizing thoughts and thinking logically.
  10. Difficulty with reading, writing and working with numbers.

When we say that Alzheimer’s is a progressive condition, it means that the symptoms will occur gradually over years and eventually become severe. Sometimes we believe that memory loss is part of the aging process but Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. There are clear signs
and indications that can help your family receive an accurate and timely diagnosis. Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s but there are treatment procedures available. Here are some treatments available:

  1. Cognitive stimulation therapy – these are group activities that are designed to improve cognitive skills from         memory to problem solving.
  2. Cognitive rehabilitation- this technique is used to improve the parts of your brain that are working well, to then help the parts that are not responding well. This can be done with an occupational therapist, a relative, caretaker or friend. An example is learning to use a mobile phone and other simple everyday tasks.
  3. Life story work or reminiscence- This is a physical representation of your life from keepsakes, to photos, truncates and even digital memories of your life. It will help remind you of events and stories about your life.  

Alzheimer’s can be prevented by changes in lifestyle choices. There is a common link between cardiovascular problems and Alzheimer’s disease. Several conditions are linked to Alzheimer’s disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Thus, preventing
Alzheimer’s may also prevent other cardiovascular diseases in the aging process. Some preventative measures include:

  1. Regular daily exercise- this could include 30 minutes walks around your house or daily stretches. Exercise increases the flow of oxygen and blood flow to the brain. Hence it increases the brain activity in different parts of the brain.
  2. Healthy eating for the heart- there have been trials using DASH diet and Mediterranean diet that have been found to reduce the chances of Alzheimer’s. DASH diet focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grain, fat free and low-fat dairy. It limits the intake of food that is high in saturated fat such as fatty meats and full fat dairy products. The Mediterranean diet on the other hand is based on fruit and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, nuts, legumes and olive oil. It is based on the traditional cuisines of Greece.
  3. Head trauma- there is also a link between head trauma and cognitive decline. Head trauma that causes unconsciousness is usually linked to a later in life Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Thus it is important to take all care to protect your head from injury. There are simple things you can do from, wearing a seatbelt, wearing protective headgear while playing contact sports, and also ensuring safety gear is worn at high risk working
  4. conditions.

There are many more ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease from living a healthy lifestyle to staying connected with people. Keep your mental state strong by exercising your brain cells daily and live a physically healthy life.

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