Acommon medicine used in the treatment of diabetes can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by almost a fifth, according to a new study.
A Vitamin That Could Ward Off Dementia
According to the World Health Organization, more than 55 million people worldwide suffer from dementia, “a syndrome – usually of a chronic or progressive nature – that leads to deterioration in cognitive function (i.e. the ability to process thought) beyond what might be expected from the usual consequences of biological aging.” The most common symptoms of dementia include memory loss, becoming lost in familiar places, changes in learning or thinking and becoming confused while at home, but taking a daily multivitamin might help slow cognitive delay according to a new study.https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/this-vitamin-may-stop-dementia-says-new-study/ss-AAQLHIT?ocid=windirect
Best Foods For People With Dementia
Hippocrates once said “Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food.” In the case of dementia, a diet of nutrient-rich foods can improve patient outcomes and quality of life.https://www.dementia.org/search?search=nutrition
Dementia, Are You Worried About Getting It? More Information
Warning Signs You’re in Danger of Dementia-Michael Martin
Dementia is a serious disorder with one unavoidable risk factor: Simply getting older. According to the World Health Organization, cases of dementia are expected to triple by the year 2050, simply because so many of us are aging. These are the warning signs you’re in danger of dementia.
Flavonoids, You Need Them!
Eating a plate full of colorful foods like strawberries and peppers, which include flavonoids, could slow your cognitive decline, a new study found.http://www.cnn.com/
Eating foods high in flavonoids could slow cognitive decline (msn.com)
Ever Worry About Getting Dementia? Follow Below To Link
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an estimated 5 million adults living with dementia—and that number grows every year. Dementia itself isn’t a specific disease, but a general term that describes a declining ability to “remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with doing everyday activities.”Leah Groth
Signs You’re Developing Dementia, According to a Doctor (msn.com)
Aging Bodies and Nimble Minds Can Go Together
Anxious About Dementia
Carol Bradley Bursack was a bit frustrated when she wrote the insightful column, “Aging Bodies Can House Strong, Agile Minds” in 2016. As a columnist, blogger and author of “Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories,” Bradley Bursack receives a lot of mail and hears from many family caregivers.
Having spent 20 years as a caregiver for multiple elders, Bradley Bursack could relate to adult children’s concerns. However, from her perspective, many well-meaning children seemed to be overreacting to an aging parent’s increasing weakness or occasional memory lapses. Changes like these prompted some caring children to speculate about a parent’s possible dementia, making them feel they should immediately leap into a protective mode.
Online messaging and increased awareness of dementia – Alzheimer’s awareness in particular – can contribute to family members’ anxiety and overreaction, Bradley Bursack believes. They’re bombarded with advice like: “When your parents are 65, you have to check their refrigerator for old food,” she says. “And if they forget a word, you better get them in to a doctor.”
Although she doesn’t hear this from everyone, Bradley Bursack notes, some family members “want to kind of dive in and take over their parent’s lives once a birthday happens. They mean well – they’re worried about what they read.”
Alzheimer’s awareness is important, Bradley Bursack says. Yet, awareness of what older adults can accomplish and their value in society is equally important, she emphasizes.
“We all know that in this day and age, somebody 65 or 70 could still be working on the internet,” Bradley Bursack says. “They’re starting their own businesses. People are running; they’re going to the gym. They’re out there volunteering. Senior volunteers keep this country running. It’s amazing what people do.”
Aging is normal and acceptance is golden. “Just because we might walk slower or take longer to climb the subway stairs – well, you know, that’s life,” says Alice Fisher, founder of the Radical Age Movement, a national group based in New York City. Some people may deal with severe disabilities, she notes: “We’re not saying that getting old is this Pollyanna thing.”
Fisher is not a fan of phrases such as “aging well” or “healthy aging” and what they seem to imply. “‘Successful aging’ is the worst,” she says. “What does that mean: If I am just unfortunate and get sick, I failed? I didn’t succeed? I didn’t age successfully? That’s another way of looking at it.”
When older adults show outward signs of physical disabilities, like using a wheelchair, people around them may make assumptions that wouldn’t occur to them with younger adults, Fisher says. Complications from certain health conditions are often misconstrued.
Physical effects of stroke – from which many people recover – may cause family caregivers, friends or co-workers to assume the survivor’s mental capacity must also be affected. Not so, Fisher says. She describes an 80-year-old college professor, a fellow group member, who has had two strokes. Although these caused a speech impediment, Fisher says, “We could understand her just fine.”
Others around the professor were inspired as she moved ahead with her life, exercising daily, returning to teaching and writing books simultaneously. As for her stroke history, Fisher says, “It obviously had no effect on her brain.”
Hearing loss can occur with age, but difficulty hearing is not the same as difficulty with comprehension. Consider whether somebody may have trouble hearing – not cognitive issues – if he or she doesn’t seem to understand you right away, Fisher advises.
Whether it’s a family member or health professional, determining how to account for memory loss and other cognitive changes in an older adult is challenging: Is it due to normal aging or potential dementia? Many factors are considered, such as specific language deficits or new behavioral patterns like increasing apathy.
Geriatricians use paper-and-pencil exercises and verbal testing of short-term recall to screen for cognitive problems as part of routine wellness visits. If Alzheimer’s or other dementia is suspected, more intensive testing could include brain imaging and possibly a spinal tap to reach a diagnosis.
Most of the time, however, gradual memory changes occur as part of the normal aging process, and people develop workarounds and continue to go about their lives. Certain types of memory may actually improve with age.
Researchers explored subtle differences in memory, intelligence and executive function related to age in the September 2013 issue of the journal Psychology and Aging. A study of age and economic decision-making found that younger adults had more “fluid intelligence,” whereas older adults had greater “crystallized intelligence” that influenced traits such as financial literacy, debt literacy and temporal discounting – a concept related to immediate reward-seeking versus self-control and delayed gratification.
Another study compared older and younger adults’ ability to use sentence context to memorize words. “Older and wiser” was the conclusion of researchers who found superior memory performance in seniors. Experience and earned wisdom matter.
Before making assumptions about mental capabilities, look around at what seniors are accomplishing. You’ll find older adults learning, adapting and contributing in myriad ways – even if they’re not in perfect health. It could be seniors earning a living in today’s gig economy, returning to college or volunteering their time and skill to help others in the community.
Changing Your Mindset
You’re never too young to reset your attitude on aging. Keep these points in mind when you think about what aging means:
Your future self-image is at stake. In a youth-oriented culture, Bradley Bursack says, some 40-year-old adults say they feel old and “washed up,” when they’re actually just entering middle age. Start training yourself now to think about age in a more positive light.
‘Othering’ elders discounts their humanity. “People look at old people as the ‘other,'” Fisher says. “They don’t realize: Hey, excuse me, but I’m you. You just haven’t gotten here yet. We’re not another species. We are human beings, the same as you are.” Recognize the humanity of people at every stage of life and in every state of health, she urges.
Age-based stereotyping is a two-way street. Bradley Bursack is dismayed by social media stereotyping of all older adults being technology-averse. However, she adds, “The reverse is true and I also don’t like to see it: when older people have a stereotypical view of Gen Xers or millennials, where they just think they’re all about themselves, which is not true at all.” Workplaces where people of all ages work and interact with one another can help eliminate these outworn ideas, she says.
It’s natural to worry when a parent has health issues, Bradley Bursack says. It could be your father who’s had a stroke and some physical disabilities but no cognitive effects. Or it might be something gradual, like, “Mom’s getting so frail – her arthritis is making it difficult for her to take jar lids off,” she says. “Well, that isn’t Mom’s brain.”
Despite the massive impact dementia has on the economy and people’s livelihoods, there are still many misconceptions about it. There are also some facts that still surprise people.
1. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are not the same thing
Dementia is a term used for symptoms like confusion, memory loss, mood changes and personality changes. There are a whole range of conditions that can cause dementia, not just Alzheimer’s. The most common are Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, vascular dementia and Frontotemporal dementia.
“Sometimes people will say to me, ‘Oh well, she has Alzheimer’s disease, but she doesn’t have dementia…’ But really, if you have Alzheimer’s disease and you’re showing symptoms, then you have dementia,” said Laura Phipps, the head of communications and engagement at Alzheimer’s Research UK. “Dementia is just a word for the symptoms.”
2. People react differently to the words
Although dementia and Alzheimer’s are often confused, people tend to have different reactions to hearing each word.
“When you ask them to think about Alzheimer’s disease, they will put that in with other physical health conditions, like heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes,” Phipps said. “And when you ask them to think about dementia, they don’t know what to do with it, and they tend to put it in with things like age and mental health.”
So even though dementia is caused by illnesses like Alzheimer’s, the word itself is conflated with being more of a mental disorder than something caused by a physical disease.
3. Dementia isn’t an inevitable part of getting older
A common misconception is that you get a bit forgetful as you get older, so dementia falls into that as an inevitability that just happens to most people.
“They’ll say, ‘Oh yeah, my grandma had dementia but she was very old,’ so it’s almost followed by an excuse that it was OK because they were old,” Phipps said. “And so I think that drives this kind of view in society that the diseases that cause dementia are not that important because there’s not much you can do about them.”
But this isn’t true. Dementia is caused by diseases. People understand cancer is a disease, that you shouldn’t have it and it’s unfair, Phipps said, but that’s not yet universally accepted by people when it comes to dementia.
4. At 90, more people don’t have dementia than do
By the time people get to 90 years old, they are more likely not to have any diseases that cause dementia than to have one.
Phipps said dementia research is behind a lot of other research because there is an extra mountain to climb. Because people think dementia is inevitable, they are less likely to want to support and fund research.
5. Almost half of adults don’t realize it causes death
A survey by Alzheimer’s Research UK found that 51% of adults recognize that dementia leads to death. That means almost half don’t realize, even though it’s the UK’s leading cause of death.
“These are physical diseases that ultimately are terminal — they will shorten your life,” Phipps said. “But people don’t recognize that, and again this just shows there is a lack of seriousness about it.
“You hear people joke about it, like, ‘Oh have you got Alzheimer’s?’ And actually, you wouldn’t joke about someone having another fatal illness. It’s not appropriate in society to do that. But people will still do that about dementia because they don’t recognize that diseases that cause dementia like Alzheimer’s are terminal. They will end your life too soon.”
6. There are more symptoms than memory loss
There is a slightly simplified view of dementia that it’s all about becoming forgetful when you get older. Memory loss is the most common symptom, Phipps said, but there are many more.
“As dementia progresses, people get more and more symptoms, including physical symptoms,” she said. “So they won’t be able to move around, they’ll have difficulty speaking, they’ll have trouble swallowing — and it’s ultimately those symptoms that make people immobile and much more frail and susceptible to things like falls or infections that they don’t recover from.”
7. A third of risk factors are within our control
People often understand the risk of dementia, Phipps said. About a third of cases of dementia could actually be down to risk factors that are in our control.
Age is the biggest risk factor because dementia mostly affects older people. Some people have a genetic predisposition to developing diseases like Alzheimer’s, which is out of their control.
“But there are also lifestyle factors that can influence your risk of dementia,” Phipps said. “And at a population level, these come out as things like smoking, like depression, physical inactivity, high blood pressure … so often it’s things that are likely to impact your heart.”
Only about a quarter of UK adults realize there is anything they can do to reduce their risk of dementia, according to Alzheimer’s Research UK surveys.
“If you were to address things like having more aggressive treatment of blood pressure, or stopping people becoming overweight, and if nobody smoked, then we would see a reduction in the number of people getting dementia,” said Phipps. “So there are things people can do that are within their control that can reduce their risk of dementia.”
8. Heart health and brain health are intrinsically linked
Many of the risk factors associated with dementia are the same as those associated with heart health. This is because your brain and heart are intrinsically linked.
“The majority of the blood that is pumped by your heart is used by your brain,” said Phipps. “So anything that damages how your heart is working will have a knock-on effect on your brain health. And so a lot of the risk factors for dementia at the moment with the best evidence are also heart health risk factors.”
So even though people may be unsure about the risk factors of dementia, if you tell them it’s the same as the ones for cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attacks, they might have a better idea.
9. Midlife is the most important window for risk reduction
Many of the most important avoidable risk factors for dementia appear in midlife, between the ages of about 40 and 64, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
People who have had periods of depression in mid or later life also have increased rates of dementia
10. It doesn’t just affect old people
Dementia doesn’t just affect older people. About 2-8% of all cases worldwide affect younger people. In the UK, there are about 40,000 people under the age of 65 living with dementia, but people tend to think it’s not something that strikes until later life.
“In 2015 we did some polling, and 46% of people think dementia mostly affects older people, 15% think it affects only older people, and 9% think it can also affect younger people,” Phipps said.
11. Sometimes, it only affects sight and perception
Sometimes memory loss isn’t a symptom of dementia until it is very advanced. The type of dementia author Terry Pratchett had, for example, affected how his brain interpreted vision from his eyes.
“So actually he didn’t have memory loss until the late stages, but he couldn’t really see at all,” Phipps said. “So he couldn’t type, and had big gaps in his vision where he couldn’t see things.”
Alzheimer’s Research UK has a virtual-reality dementia experience online called A Walk Through Dementia, which shows some of the visual perception tricks dementia can have.
“One thing people often tell us about is that puddles on the ground can look like holes because there are issues with perception and depth perception and color perception,” said Phipps. “You know when you go into a shop and they used to have those big black mats in front of the door … for some people with dementia that looks like a massive abyss.”
Imagine being faced with large holes in the ground. It would be confusing and alarming. Phipps said this means people with dementia won’t go into shops, or they won’t enter bathrooms because the shiny floors look like water.
“If your brain was working 100% you would probably be able to perceive the difference between shiny and wet,” she said. “But if there’s damage in your brain you just can’t quite make the judgment. Those things seem small but they can have a huge impact.”
12. Aggression and confusion may come from these small perception errors
Small changes can have big impacts on how people with dementia live. It may be something small that is confusing them with a simple fix, but the person with dementia may not be able to articulate the problem.
“There’s a big movement now for people who are showing signs of aggression or agitation, and rather than immediately giving them anti-psychotic drugs, is to try and look at their environment,” said Phipps. “Because it might be something really small like a change in routine or a change in the lamps or the way shadows are being cast around the room that could be having a massive impact on their level of anxiety, causing them to be agitated and aggressive.”
Small tweaks to their environment, like having more lights or keeping the curtains open, could have a big impact on their quality of life.
13. Disrupted sleep can be a factor
Research has shown that disrupted sleep may be associated with a higher risk of early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. This could mean that sleeping badly is an early warning sign of someone developing dementia.
Bad sleep could either be a symptom of dementia, or a cause — or it could be that both are true.
Other research supports the sleep theory, with one study finding that just one night of disrupted sleep could lead to a spike in Alzheimer’s-related proteins.
14. There is no cure or treatment for the progression of diseases that cause dementia
There is currently no cure for the diseases that cause dementia, and no treatments that will modify the progression.
Some drugs can help people to address certain symptoms, but they don’t stop the disease progressing in the brain.
This is why understanding that dementia may be preventable is so important, Phipps said, because increased awareness means more research.
“There seems to be less stigma, and people seem to be more open about talking about diagnosis with someone, or having a conversation with somebody with dementia,” she said. “I think awareness of dementia is better than it’s ever been, but understanding of dementia hasn’t quite caught up.”