Dementia is a debilitating brain condition that can severely affect a person’s memory, language, thinking capacity, ability to make decisions, and problem-solving skills, to the point where it can have a significant influence on day-to-day living. Dementia is not a disease in and of itself; rather, it is an umbrella word that refers to a collection of disorders that present a wide variety of symptoms and impair cognitive functioning. According to the World Health Organization, “Currently more than 55 million people live with dementia globally, and there are about 10 million new cases every year.” This affliction is quite widespread and there are approximately 10 million new cases every year.
Dr. Michael Yassa, a neurobiologist, and director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California, Irvine, explains why there has been an increase in the number of cases of dementia. This is especially concerning given that there is currently no treatment available for the disease. “Remember that the most significant risk factor is age and that we are a population that is getting older. The expansion of human life expectancy brought on by advances in medical technology has far surpassed anything that people could have hoped for or envisaged one hundred or two hundred years ago. As a result, the number of people living to an advanced age, at which the risk of developing dementia is significantly increased, is contributing to an increase in the prevalence of the condition.
Although the illness is most common in those over the age of 65, it is not a natural component of aging, and people of younger ages have been known to suffer from dementia as well, albeit on a far less frequent basis. So, what exactly is the root of the problem? The Mayo Clinic states that “dementia is caused by injury to or loss of nerve cells and their connections in the brain.” [Citation needed] Dementia can have a variety of various effects on people and cause a variety of different symptoms depending on the section of the brain that is damaged. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dementia is currently the seventh-highest cause of death among all diseases and is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people all over the world.
Not only does dementia have physical, psychological, social, and economic repercussions on people living with dementia, but it also has these impacts on the people who care for dementia patients, their families, and society as a whole.
There is no failsafe method to prevent dementia, however, there are methods that can help reduce the risk of developing the condition. “The onset of dementia is not predetermined, and not all people are destined to travel down that road.” Continue reading to find out what the experts had to say about dementia and the lifestyle choices that lower the risk of developing the condition. Continue reading, and make sure you don’t miss any of these sure signs that you’ve already had COVID to protect not only your health but also the health of others.
“What we know about dementia and the brain is continually changing,” says William Nields, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Grey Matters Precision Brain Centers in Sarasota, Florida. The medical community has placed a significant amount of emphasis in recent years on the development of novel approaches to the treatment of cognitive decline. To help you live a longer, more independent life in the future, it is crucial to locate a provider who understands the significance of the choices you make in your lifestyle and who is up to date on the latest research and treatment options. It is never too soon to begin taking steps to improve the health of your brain.
The National Institute on Aging provides the following information regarding the various varieties of dementia that are present in the world today.
–Alzheimer’s illness, which is the type of dementia that is diagnosed in older persons the most frequently. Alterations in the brain, including aberrant accumulations of proteins known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles, are the root cause of this condition.
–Frontotemporal dementia, often known as FTD, is a rare form of dementia that mostly affects individuals under the age of 60. It has been linked to excessive levels of the proteins tau and TDP-43, as well as aberrant types of these proteins.
–Lewy body dementia, is a type of dementia that is brought on by aberrant deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein, which are referred to as Lewy bodies.
–Vascular dementia is a type of dementia that is brought on by disorders that either cause damage to the blood vessels found in the brain or prevent blood and oxygen from flowing to the brain.
–Mixed dementia, sometimes known as a composite of two or more distinct forms of dementia. For instance, researchers have found that many people had a combination of brain abnormalities linked with distinct types of dementia through postmortem investigations involving older adults who have dementia. These studies were conducted on patients who had dementia.
Dr. Nields states, “The standard medical strategy of identifying and treating just one symptom, amyloid plaques, but not the underlying reasons, has contributed to the widespread prevalence of dementia in today’s society. To a greater extent, we need to investigate everything that can affect dementia. For instance, the most important factors in dementia include excessive blood sugar and insulin resistance, vascular disease, a sedentary lifestyle, nutrition, and pollutants. Other risk factors include vascular disease, sedentary lifestyle, and sedentary lifestyle (which are more and more problems in our modern world). Just consider how regular things like these are in our modern lives.
We would all like a magic pill to cure dementia, but the reality is that it requires a multifaceted approach that includes medical interventions, lifestyle changes, and improved management of overall health. Doesn’t it seem strange that we treat heart disease and diabetes with a multidisciplinary approach, but we don’t do the same for brain health? Our brains deserve and demand nothing less than a holistic and continuous approach to care throughout our entire lives.”
According to Dr. Mahmud Kara, MD, who specializes in internal medicine, “chronic inflammation is the source of all evil.” Recent research has indicated that certain modifiable risk factors, which are factors that are under our control and may be changed, such as high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, and poor diet, may also be connected to dementia and other cognitive-related disorders. [Citation needed] One recent study found that high levels of inflammation are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in particular and that when people took action to address inflammation, in this case by increasing their physical activity, it helped to reduce the risk of developing these diseases. The study was conducted by the University of California San Diego.
Even though inflammation is the normal response of the immune system to foreign or hazardous substances and it is designed to protect us, if this response is not maintained under control over time, it can cause damage to key tissues such as the brain or the cells in the brain.
Some symptoms of chronic inflammation include, but are not limited to:
- Digestive upset
- Bloating or abdominal discomfort
On the other hand, if you are suffering from chronic inflammation and poor gut health, it can lead to some cognitive symptoms. These include:
- Poor concentration
- Brain fog
- Memory issues
- Low energy
When it comes to diet, Dr. Kara advises that the best thing you can do for your health and to prevent chronic inflammation is to load up on fresh, complete, organic foods that are nutrient-dense. In the short term, eating particular foods may cause inflammatory symptoms such as fatigue, digestive upset, swelling, or bloating. However, over the long term, excessive consumption of particular foods can lead to high cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, which in turn can lead to diseases such as type 2 diabetes or other chronic conditions that are frequently associated with inflammation.
Some of the worst eating habits include, but are not limited to the following, as they may promote inflammation, which may ultimately lead you to age more quickly or put you at a higher risk for developing diseases later in life:
- Refined carbohydrates: eating refined carbohydrates such as white bread or pastries is one of the largest culprits of inflammation
- “Bad” fats: not all fat is created equal. Foods that are high in trans-fat, like fried food, can lead to inflammation
- Artificial sugar/too much sugar: consuming too much sugar or using artificial sweeteners is another habit to avoid
- Processed foods: many of the foods available on conventional supermarket shelves are loaded with preservatives and chemicals that can contribute to inflammation and toxin buildup
In addition, Turmeric is among the most effective dietary supplements for lowering levels of chronic inflammation. This ancient spice is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and it has been used for centuries.
It is believed that turmeric affects several different inflammatory processes, including the IL-1beta pathway, the TNF pathway, the PG pathway, and the COX2 pathway.
–Boswellia is another powerful anti-inflammatory agent that may influence multiple inflammatory pathways, but the COX2 pathway in particular. This is presumably the reason why it works so well with turmeric it affects the same route.
Ginger has some moderate anti-inflammatory benefits, but more importantly, it is an effective treatment for the discomfort that comes along with inflammation.
Since ancient times, goldenseal has been utilized as a treatment for inflammatory conditions and as an antibacterial agent. Alkaloids are a class of chemical substances that are thought to be responsible for their effects.
Because chronic inflammation is the source of virtually all health problems, these components are both beneficial and essential. I say this because inflammation is the root cause of a wide variety of health problems, including coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Because inflammation can be a problem for how you feel on a day-to-day basis as well as for your overall well-being, I think everyone must focus on measures to avoid and reduce inflammation.
According to Dr. Yassa, there are a few things that can be done to minimize one’s chance of developing dementia. The first one is engaging in physically demanding activities. The onset of dementia may be prevented or postponed with regular physical activity. “Staying physically active has been a cornerstone of good health for millennia,” Dr. Kara explains further. It gets your blood pounding, helps you sweat away toxins, burns fat, and builds muscle at the same time. Increasing the amount of blood that flows to the brain is one way to assist in maintaining peak mental health. The good news is that you don’t have to run marathons to experience the positive effects of exercise on your mental health. Even just jogging, cycling, or walking for thirty minutes every day can make a difference.”
“Studies demonstrate that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a loss in their mental function and have a lower risk of having Alzheimer’s disease,” said the Mayo Clinic. “People who are physically active also have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.” One of the established risk factors that can be modified to reduce the risk of dementia is physical activity. In addition, engaging in regular physical activity helps counteract other risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, including depression and obesity.
Exercising several times a week for 30 to 60 minutes may:
- Keep thinking, reasoning, and learning skills sharp for healthy individuals
- Improve memory, reasoning, judgment, and thinking skills (cognitive function) for people with mild Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment
- Delay the start of Alzheimer’s for people at risk of developing the disease or slow the progress of the disease
- Increase the size of the part of the brain that’s associated with memory formation (hippocampus)
It appears that engaging in physical activity benefits your brain not only by promoting healthy blood flow but also by elevating levels of substances that are neuroprotective. In addition, regular physical activity has been shown to mitigate some of the natural declines in the number of connections between brain cells that comes with advancing age.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “People who slept six hours or less per night in their 50s and 60s were more likely to develop dementia later in life. The findings suggest that inadequate sleep duration could increase dementia risk and emphasize the importance of good sleep habits.” Dr. Yassa emphasizes, “Making sure that we are getting a good amount of sleep every night is also key. Sleep problems have been linked to increased risk for dementia.”
Changes in sleep patterns are common in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. They may wake up frequently during the night and find it difficult to get back to sleep. These sleep problems are thought to result from brain changes caused by the disease that affect the sleep-wake cycle. Studies have suggested that sleep patterns earlier in life may contribute to later dementia risk. Both insufficient sleep and sleeping longer than average have been linked to an increased risk of dementia.
Dr. Kara explains, “It has also been shown via research that persons who are regarded to be at a “greater risk” for acquiring dementia or other diseases connected to cognitive function might minimize their risk by modifying their diet. Docosahexaenoic acid, often known as DHA, is a type of omega-3 fat that can be found in specific foods (like fish oil), as well as in supplement form. This is one method for accomplishing this goal. Another method is to take omega-3 fatty acid supplements. The cells in our brain need to be protected from oxidative stress and inflammation, and specific cognitive structures need to be strengthened. Omega-3 fats play a crucial role in all three of these processes.
According to research, omega-3 DHA may be able to help reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by assisting in the reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain, in addition to protecting the cell membranes and certain brain structures from damage throughout one’s lifetime. Some risk factors cannot be changed, such as genetics; however, certain modifiable risk factors may contribute to the development of dementia, and these lifestyle factors should be strongly considered. In general, some factors may be beyond our control when it comes to disease, such as genetics.
In addition to consuming certain foods, avoiding foods that are filled with preservatives or chemicals that can trigger inflammation is also a crucial part of the healing process (remember inflammation has been connected with cognitive decline). You must incorporate into your diet a variety of foods that are high in nutrient content and contribute to the regulation of blood pressure (e.g. leafy greens, berries, seeds, lean meats, etc). Incorporating into your diet foods that have a high antioxidant value is also something that should not be overlooked. These can be found in dark chocolate, and darker fruits like berries, whole grains, and avocado, and they help lower oxidative stress and inflammation. Whole grains are also a good source.”