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September 2018 marks the 7th World Alzheimer's Month and 21 September will be celebrated as the World Alzheimer's Day. The main aim of celebrating this day is to break the taboo on Alzheimer's disease (AD) and spread awareness about it.
This disease is the most common type of dementia. A person suffering from this condition tends to lose his cognitive ability. This condition is incurable and grows worse with time.
Our nervous system is made up of neurons or nerve cells. These cells play a crucial role in transmitting information through our body to the different organs in electrical and chemical forms. When suffering from Alzheimer's, the functioning of the nerve cells eventually comes to a halt affecting the memory of the person.
Alzheimer's disease generally develops slowly, and it has been found that the first stage of the disease might start years before the symptoms appear. Just how these signs of Alzheimer's disease develop varies from person to person.
Signs And Symptoms Of Alzheimer's Disease
The signs of Alzheimer's disease generally appear in the 60s. Early signs of Alzheimer's disease include difficulties with memory, most often of latest events. These signs can also be an ordinary part of the ageing process.
A few of the most frequently observed signs of the illness include a progressive inability to recall facts and events and, later, to identify family and friends. They develop memory issues which are serious enough to affect daily functioning. An individual with Alzheimer's disease might not even recognize members of the family or close friends.
Some symptoms of this condition include:
If a person becomes very forgetful that he frequently gets lost on a known route, forgets about events, appointments, etc., often misplaces one's belongings, and keeps repeating the same talks or questions a number of times.
The symptoms also include troubles with reading and writing, losing items, bad judgement, social withdrawal, trouble talking and communicating and changes in emotions. Symptoms become severe as the disease advances, leading to impairment and making it hard and finally impossible for an individual with Alzheimer's disease to properly care for themselves.
Tips To Prevent Alzheimer's Disease
The exact cause of AD is not known. While genetic factors have been implicated, it is possible that inflammation in the brain, blood vessel/blood flow related abnormalities, diet and lifestyle may also increase the risk of occurrence of AD.
While AD cannot be prevented, adopting a healthy lifestyle from a young age can help in delaying the onset and severity of the condition.
Dr Pradeep Mahajan, regenerative medicine researcher at StemRx told Boldsky exclusively in an interview about how we can delay Alzheimer's disease.
Here are the tips he gave us.
The importance of physical activity cannot be ignored, exercise boosts blood supply, and this holds true for the brain as well. Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise three to four times a week is recommended for adults to maintain a healthy body and mind.
Improve your cognitive skill
Cognitive function-enhancing activities and socializing go a long way in keeping the brain young. Such activities improve thinking ability and help in sharpening focus that leads to enhanced performance and maintains the brain in a constantly active state.
Follow a healthy diet
Healthy diet is a factor that is mostly ignored in today's times, especially by young individuals. There should be no doubt that the way to graceful ageing is through consumption of wholesome foods - fruits, vegetables, lean meat, nuts etc. Understand that the brain also requires certain nutrients for optimal performance.
Brain enhancers include anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory foods such as green leafy vegetables, avocado, broccoli, omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA) - found in fishes such as salmon/tuna, eggs, dark chocolate, berries etc. Avoid red meat (or eat minimal amounts) and sugars/preserved food items.
Getting proper sleep
The body requires rest, so does the brain. Studies have shown that amyloid plaques (as seen in AD) are cleared during sleep. Therefore, in order to reduce the chances of occurrence of AD, get 7-8 hours of sleep in the night. Do not compensate for lost sleep by napping during the day.
It is not necessary to strictly adhere to a timetable or go overboard in making healthy lifestyle choices to prevent AD.
All you need to do is be disciplined and incorporate basic, healthy patterns of diet and exercise in daily life. Try to maintain normal BMI and take measures to prevent the occurrence of other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol levels etc. which may increase the risk of developing AD. We cannot prevent what lies in the future; however, we must not regret not having tried!