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How To Avoid Dementia In Old Age

Tips For Starting And Sticking With An Exercise Plan

How to Prevent Dementia Naturally | Dementia Prevention | Health Care |

If youve been inactive for a while, starting an exercise program can be intimidating. But remember: a little exercise is better than none. In fact, adding just modest amounts of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your health.

Choose activities you enjoy and start smalla 10-minute walk a few times a day, for exampleand allow yourself to gradually build up your momentum and self-confidence.

Obesity And Dementia Risk

Research shows people who are obese are more likely to develop dementia later in life. Some researchers say obesity should be considered premature aging, as it is strongly linked to chronic health problems in old age.

According to Adesola Ogunniyi, an author of the report and a professor of medicine at University of Ibadan, Nigeria, obesity is a risk factor for chronic cardiovascular diseases, which damage blood vessels in the brain and reduce blood flow. This leads to a cascade of inflammation and oxidative stress an imbalance between oxygen-containing molecules and antioxidants which would eventually lead to the death of brain cells.

Heres what you can do:Ogunniyi recommended losing weight, avoiding excess calories and reducing sugary beverages along with staying active and exercising.

Read more about past research on the link between obesity in midlife, body mass index and dementia

The Top Dementia Medications

Donepezil

Sold under the brand name Aricept, this medication is a cholinesterase inhibitor prescribed to help those diagnosed with mild, moderate, and severe Alzheimers disease. Donepezil is taken as a pill, or dissolving tablet for those unable to swallow, with side effects that commonly include gastrointestinal issues and sleep disruption. First approved by the FDA in 1996, this drug was classified to treat all stages of Alzheimers in 2006 after extensive clinical trials showing its potential to delay the onset of memory loss and cognitive abilities.

Galantamine

This medication is sold under the name Razadyne, and it is a cholinesterase inhibitor that is effective and mild to moderate Alzheimers disease. According to the NIH, the main differences between this medication and donepezil are that galantamine users caregivers recorded less burdens during their patients time on the medication, in a 2003 clinical trial. Both medications have similar amounts of side effects, but galantamine users experience a skin rash sometimes, in addition to the standard intestinal issues caused by the tendency of cholinesterase inhibitors to increase stomach acid production.

Rivastigmine

Tacrine

Taking AChE Inhibitors Long Term

NMDA Receptor Antagonists

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The Truth About Aging And Dementia

As we age, our brains change, but Alzheimers disease and related dementias are not an inevitable part of aging. In fact, up to 40% of dementia cases may be prevented or delayed. It helps to understand whats normal and whats not when it comes to brain health.

Normal brain aging may mean slower processing speeds and more trouble multitasking, but routine memory, skills, and knowledge are stable and may even improve with age. Its normal to occasionally forget recent events such as where you put your keys or the name of the person you just met.

In the United States, 6.2 million people age 65 and older have Alzheimers disease, the most common type of dementia. People with dementia have symptoms of cognitive decline that interfere with daily lifeincluding disruptions in language, memory, attention, recognition, problem solving, and decision-making. Signs to watch for include:

Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias are not an inevitable part of aging. There are 7 ways to help maintain your brain health.

  • Not being able to complete tasks without help.
  • Trouble naming items or close family members.
  • Forgetting the function of items.
  • Repeating questions.
  • Taking much longer to complete normal tasks.
  • Misplacing items often.
  • Being unable to retrace steps and getting lost.

Dementia Prevention: 5 Steps To Take Now

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While forgetfulness and problems thinking most often show up in people age 60 or older, medical research is discovering that the disease starts making changes in the brain many years before that.

In a 2017 article in JAMA Neurology, the authors looked at data from 15,744 people from all over the country to see the relationship between smoking, diabetes and elevated blood pressure and the chance of developing dementia over 25 years.

People with high blood pressure in middle age increased their risk of having dementia over the next 25 years by 40%. And in the case of diabetes, that risk goes up by 80%. Thats almost as much of an increased risk as having a genetic vulnerability for Alzheimers.

Healthy choices and lifestyle changes in your 40s may make a difference in your dementia risk. Talk to your doctor about strategies to guard against plaque buildup and narrowing of your arteries:

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Simple Ways To Prevent Dementia In Old Age

Currently, an estimated 5.3 million elderly Americans live with Alzheimer’s dementia and many more live with other forms of dementia, impairing a person’s physical and mental abilities, including Huntington’s disease and vascular dementia. Cognitive functioning and behavioral development begin to falter as the damage to brain cells disrupts a person’s psyche, says the Alzheimer’s Association.

According to Alzheimer’s Society in the U.K., the number of people with dementia is expected to double because people are living longer. As one downside to having longer lifespans, women have a higher lifetime risk than men of developing Alzheimer’s, which may be precipitated by a drop in estrogen, the primary female sex hormone, experienced during menopause.

Gains in average life expectancy are not the sole driver behind the increase in Americans with dementia other illnesses have been shown to increase risk. If a person has diabetes before the age of 65, their risk for dementia doubles. In a study published in the issue of Neurology, researchers examined the relationship between diabetes as a risk factor for dementia in a group of 1,301 community dwellers 75 years and older in Stockholm, Sweden. They found that diabetes is indeed associated with an increased risk for dementia, especially vascular dementia when the brain’s blood supply is interrupted in very old people.

What Are Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of developing a disease. Some risk factors can be controlled while others cannot. For example, a person is not able to control their age, which is the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimers and related dementias. Another uncontrollable risk factor is a persons genes. Genes are structures in our bodys cells that are passed down from a persons birth parents. Changes in genes even small changes can cause diseases.

Race and gender are also factors that influence risk. Research shows that African Americans, American Indians, and Alaska Natives have the highest rates of dementia, and that risk factors may differ for women and men. Researchers are investigating whats behind these differences.

However, people do have control over their behavior and lifestyle, which can influence their risk for certain diseases. For example, high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. Lowering blood pressure with lifestyle changes or medication can help reduce a persons risk for heart disease and heart attack.

For Alzheimers and related dementias, no behavior or lifestyle factors have risen to the level of researchers being able to say: This will definitely prevent these diseases. But there are promising avenues.

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Complications Of Chronic Constipation In The Elderly

If left untreated for a long time, constipation can lead to several complications, including:

  • Fecal impaction : The longer it stays in the colon, the drier and harder the stool gets. Eventually, it gets stuck and becomes impossible to evacuate without treatment.
  • Hemorrhoids : Long-term straining during defecation can lead to hemorrhoids, which can also further become complicated by bleeding.
  • Anal fissures : Large and hard stools can even lead to tears in the anus.
  • Rectal prolapse : One of the most severe complications can occur when the rectum protrudes outside due to straining.

Risk Factors For Dementia

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A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of developing a condition.

Some dementia risk factors are difficult or impossible to change. These include:

  • age: the older you are, the more likely you are to develop dementia. However, dementia is not a natural part of ageing
  • genes: in general, genes alone are not thought to cause dementia. However, certain genetic factors are involved with some of the less common types. Dementia usually develops because of a combination of genetic and “environmental” factors, such as smoking and a lack of regular exercise
  • lower levels of education

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Pillar #: Mental Stimulation

Its important to continue learning new things and challenging your brain throughout life. Whether youre looking to prevent the onset of dementia or delay its progression, when it comes to your brain the key is to use it or lose it. In the groundbreaking NIH ACTIVE study, older adults who received as few as 10 sessions of mental training not only improved their cognitive functioning in daily activities in the months after the training, but continued to show long-lasting improvements 10 years later.

Activities involving multiple tasks or requiring communication, interaction, and organization offer the greatest benefits. Set aside time each day to stimulate your brain:

Learn something new. Study a foreign language, practice a musical instrument, or learn to paint or sew. One of the best ways to take up a new hobby is to sign up for a class and then schedule regular times for practicing. The greater the novelty, complexity, and challenge, the greater the benefit.

Raise the bar for an existing activity. If youre not keen on learning something new, you can still challenge your brain by increasing your skills and knowledge of something you already do. For example, if you can play the piano and dont want to learn a new instrument, commit to learning a new piece of music or improving how well you play your favorite piece.

Follow the road less traveled. Take a new route or eat with your non-dominant hand. Vary your habits regularly to create new brain pathways.

What To Expect At Your Doctors Visit

The doctor will ask you a lot of questions about your memory, including:

  • How long have you or others noticed a problem with your memory?
  • What kinds of things have been difficult to remember?
  • Did the difficulty come on gradually or suddenly?
  • Are you having trouble doing ordinary things?

The doctor also will want to know what medications youre taking, how youve been eating and sleeping, whether youve been depressed or stressed lately, and other questions about whats been happening in your life. Chances are the doctor will also ask you or your partner to keep track of your symptoms and check back in a few months. If your memory problem needs more evaluation, your doctor may send you to a neuropsychologist.

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How To Lower Your Risk Of Dementia

Its never too late to take preventive steps. And, with a new grant, Kaiser Permanente scientists are looking for more ways to support healthy aging.

Small, daily actions can be taken to keep your mind sharp.

Dementia and many other medical conditions associated with memory loss, including Alzheimers disease, can take years even decades to develop. While symptoms and onset dont typically occur until later in life, you can lower your risk of dementia by making a few lifestyle changes at any age.

A long-running joint study between the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and the University of Washington called ACT, or Adult Changes in Thought, focuses on finding ways to delay or prevent dementia and declines in memory. A new 5-year, $55.6 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to further the ACT study will include the addition of a third major partner, the University of California, San Diego.

On the heels of this news, Eric Larson, MD, senior investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and the studys founding principal investigator, outlined a few steps he recommends taking to help lower your risk of developing dementia:

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Baby boomers: Did you know that dementia rates are declining? Common wisdom suggests that as people grow older and increasingly develop conditions that contribute to poor brain health, the prevalence of dementia would increase. But this might not be the caseand more years of education may partly to thank.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that dementia prevalence fell from 2000 to 2012 in people 65 and older, and that this drop was associated with staying in school longer.

Notably, the decrease in dementia occurred despite the increased prevalence of high blood pressure and diabetes, conditions that can increase dementia risk, comments Esther Oh, M.D., Ph.D., associate director of the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer’s Treatment Center. Oh, who is not affiliated with the study, also says that while the decline appears to be related to improved education levels, more research is needed.

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Normal Forgetfulness Vs Dementia

For most people, occasional lapses in short-term memory are a normal part of the aging process, not a warning sign of serious mental deterioration or the onset of Alzheimers or another dementia.

The following types of memory lapses are normal among older adults and generally are not considered warning signs of dementia:

  • Occasionally forgetting where you left things you use regularly, such as glasses or keys.
  • Forgetting names of acquaintances or blocking one memory with a similar one, such as calling a grandson by your sons name.
  • Occasionally forgetting an appointment or walking into a room and forgetting why you entered.
  • Becoming easily distracted or having trouble remembering what youve just read, or the details of a conversation.
  • Not quite being able to retrieve information you have on the tip of your tongue.

Treatment Of Major Depressive Disorder To Prevent Cognitive Decline

Antidepressant and mood-stabilizing strategies have also been examined in patients who already have some degree of cognitive impairment. In a group of healthy subjects, 60 mg of citalopram given in divided doses of 30 mg reduced production by 38% compared with placebo. In a group of 45 patients with MCI treated with lithium versus placebo, treatment with lithium titrated to a blood level of 0.250.5 mEq/l for a year slowed down cognitive deterioration compared with placebo, as measured with the Alzheimers Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive subscale. Lithium also decreased the level of phosphorylated tau in patients with MCI. In a study examining the association between amyloid pathology and remission of depressive symptoms with electroconvulsive therapy , remitters showed significantly lower A40/A42 than nonremitters. In a group of patients with MDD receiving ECT, there were changes in levels of CSF A1-42, the isoform with highest amyloidogenic potential. RCTs examining dementia prevention as a result of ECT are lacking however, evidence points to an increase in hippocampal volume with ECT,, thus providing a pathophysiological basis for the potential role of severe MDD treatment in dementia prevention.,

The role of pharmacological and nonpharmacological antidepressant strategies in preventing dementia onset and progression warrants further examination by future studies.

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Memory Loss And Aging

Weve all misplaced keys, blanked on someones name, or forgotten a phone number. When youre young, you dont tend to pay much attention to these lapses, but as you grow older, you may worry about what they mean. Perhaps you start to talk about a movie you saw recently when you realize you cant remember the title. Youre giving directions to your house when you suddenly blank on a familiar street name. Or you find yourself standing in the middle of the kitchen wondering what you went in there for. Memory lapses can be frustrating, but most of the time they arent cause for concern. Age-related memory changes are not the same thing as dementia.

As you grow older, you experience physiological changes that can cause glitches in brain functions youve always taken for granted. It takes longer to learn and recall information. Youre not as quick as you used to be. In fact, you may mistake this slowing of your mental processes for true memory loss. But in most cases, if you give yourself time, the information will come to mind. So, while its true that certain brain changes are inevitable when it comes to aging, major memory problems are not one of them. Thats why its important to know the difference between normal age-related forgetfulness and the symptoms that may indicate a developing cognitive problem.

Lentils Fish Leafy Greens

Tips to Prevent Dementia and Alzheimers

Folate and vitamin B6 as well as B12 can help in lowering levels of homocysteine, the amino acid within the blood which has been associated with an enhanced risk of dementia. Those people with high level of homocysteine levels and low folate level tend to have trouble remembering words and other details from a short story, according to a study recently.

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What Can You Do

Although there is no effective treatment or proven prevention for Alzheimers and related dementias, in general, leading a healthy lifestyle may help address risk factors that have been associated with these diseases.

Researchers cannot say for certain whether making the above lifestyle changes will protect against dementia, but these changes are good for your health and are all part of making healthy choices as you age.

Dementia And Excessive Drinking

According to Andrew Sommerlad, an author of the report and a senior research fellow at University College London, excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to damaged brain cells and blood vessels, shrinkage of brain tissues and severe nutritional deficiencies. And one study shows alcohol use disorder is a major risk factor for all types of dementia, especially early-onset dementia which strikes people before the age of 65.

Heres what you can do:The Lancet team suggested drinking less than 210 milliliters of alcohol weekly, the amount of alcohol which appears to reduce risk of dementia. For people who are chronic drinkers, Sommerlad said cutting back on alcohol a little each day by having smaller or lower-strength drinks is likely the safest and most effective way to reduce the consumption of alcohol.

Recognizing the problem and setting a realistic target for reducing your alcohol intake is a really important first step, he said in an email. Reducing alcohol intake is often difficult for people who have been chronic heavy drinkers, and it is a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional about how to approach this as well as seeking help from organizations and friends or family to support this process.

Read more about past research on how alcohol use can affect different regions of the brain

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