The Link Between Traumatic Brain Injury And Dementia Risk
Traumatic brain injury , a risk factor in midlife, is often caused by injuries sustained from automobile, sports accidents and exposure to blasts among members of the military. Severe TBI is linked to abnormal tau proteins, a biomarker of Alzheimers. People aged 50 years or older with a history of TBI are at an increased risk of dementia compared to those without TBI.
Meanwhile, falls are the leading cause of TBI among older adults. And older adults with concussion have double the risk of dementia.
Heres what you can do:To reduce risk of falls for older adults, doing balance exercises and maintaining muscle strength especially in the legs is crucial, Larson said. Lookout for items around your home which can cause a trip. And avoid walking on slick surface barefoot or with stockings.
Read more about past research on TBI and dementia among military veterans, and the different proteins involved in TBI.
Risk Factors For Dementia
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
- keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level
What Causes Alzheimers Wandering
There are many reasons why someone with Alzheimers might wander, including:
- Fear or stress they might not recognize where they are, the environment is overstimulating, or a loud noise or confusing situation could upset them
- Basic needs they might be looking for food, a bathroom, or just want to get some fresh air
- Searching they might get lost while looking for someone or something
- Boredom they could be looking for something to do
- Old routines they might be trying to go to work, do chores, or run errands like they used to
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Have An Nhs Health Check
An NHS Health Check is a free check-up of your overall health for people aged 40 to 74 who do not have heart disease, diabetes or kidney disease, and have not had a stroke. It’s offered every 5 years.
The NHS Health Check can help find early signs and tell you if you’re at higher risk of certain health problems that can also increase your risk of dementia. These include:
- heart disease
- kidney disease
If you’re over age 65, you’ll be told the signs and symptoms of dementia to look out for. You’ll also be given advice on how to lower your risk of dementia.
If you have not been invited for an NHS Health Check, ask your GP surgery.
The Importance Of Vascular Health
At present, researchers are still trying to understand the causes of Alzheimers disease and how to treat it.
But, vascular causes of dementia are another story. Vascular disease can cause or worsen dementia. Diseased blood vessels, along with high blood pressure, can cause tiny areas of bleeding or blocked blood flow to the brain silent strokes that may not even cause noticeable symptoms.
But when these small areas of brain injury happen over and over again, a person can develop problems with memory, gait, balance and other brain functions. Researchers are exploring the role of vascular disease in the development of Alzheimers dementia in particular, but its not yet clear if or how this occurs.
Taking steps to improve the health of your blood vessels involves lifestyle changes. Since brain changes can start decades before dementia symptoms appear, the earlier you begin preserving your vascular health, the better for your brain.
Heres a bonus: Improving blood vessel health helps you avoid stroke, heart attack and other serious diseases.
It’s been estimated that one in three cases of dementia is preventable. You cant do anything right now to stop or reverse the underlying mechanisms of Alzheimers disease, but you can do something about hypertension and vascular disease risk factors.
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Why Are Social Activities Good For The Brain
Having a conversation with someone can also exercise a wide range of your mental skills, for example:
- actively listening to and communicating with the other person
- considering the meaning of what someone is trying to tell you and how they feel
- finding the right way to express what you want to say and putting words together in the right order for someone to understand
- recalling things that have happened which are relevant to what youre talking about.
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.
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Dementia Is Not Necessarily Preventable But Science Has Established That Lifestyle Changes Can Significantly Lower Risk Here Are 12 Factors That Could Help Delay Or Prevent 40% Of Dementia Cases
Researchers project the number of people living with dementia, a neurodegenerative syndrome which currently afflicts 50 million people worldwide, will more than triple by 2050, soaring to 152 million cases globally. But experts in a recent report say two in five dementia cases could potentially be delayed or prevented by certain lifestyle choices and government policies.
The report builds on the previous nine risk factors identified by the Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention and care, and adds three additional risk factors air pollution, traumatic brain injury and excessive consumption of alcohol.
Eric Larson, an author of the study and senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, said just as people cant control their genetics, people in their 40s cant retroactively change their socioeconomic circumstances in early life but people of all ages can, to varying extents, make lifestyle choices like habitual exercising to improve their health.
In my own practice, Ive been telling patients it would be a good idea to exercise regularly, Larson said. When they found out that you could preserve your brain and reduce your risk of dementia, it was actually a powerful motivator for many people to become a regular exerciser.
Being Patient takes a closer look at how each risk factor is linked to dementia.
How To Keep Alzheimers Patients From Wandering
When caring for a senior with Alzheimers at home, it is very challenging to completely prevent wandering. Fortunately, there are steps that dementia caregivers can take to minimize the risk of elopement. Explore the following wandering prevention products and strategies to keep a dementia patient safe at home.
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How Do Older People Keep Diapers
Unfasten the tabs on the soiled diaper, tucking the side farthest from you under their hip. With one hand on the hip and the other on the shoulder, roll your loved one away from you onto their side. If you tucked the diaper far enough under the hip, you should be able to pull the diaper out from under them.
Healthy Body Healthy Brain
While drug treatments might hold promise for preventing dementia, medications aren’t the only possibility. Researchers are also exploring cognitive and lifestyle factors that can shield the brain from dementia.
Many studies have looked at dietary factors, for instance. A new observational study by Matthew P. Pase, PhD, at Boston University and colleagues found that regularly drinking artificially sweetened soda increases the risk of stroke and dementia . But so far, there are no dietary interventions that have been shown to effectively prevent dementia in randomized trials, Sperling says.
Exercise, though, has more robust evidence of a protective effect, as J. Eric Ahlskog, PhD, MD, and colleagues describe in a 2011 review . Multiple studies have shown that regular physical activity in midlife reduces the risk of dementia in later life, they report. And among patients with dementia or mild cognitive impairment, those who followed exercise regimens for six to 12 months in randomized controlled trials had better cognitive scores than more sedentary control participants.
Exercise is also known to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein necessary for maintaining healthy neurons. On top of that, physical activity is important for maintaining vascular health â and vascular disease is itself a risk factor for dementia.
“The idea is that some people can better cope with the pathology and the brain changes as they occur,” Stern says.
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Keeping Dementia At Bay
Building up your cognitive reserve over a lifetime can help prevent decline
Print version: page 46
Monitor on Psychology48
With a nation of baby boomers marching toward old age, the medical community has been poised for a wave of new dementia cases. That hasn’t materialized. A new study by Kenneth Langa, MD, PhD, at the University of Michigan and colleagues found that the prevalence of dementia in the United States actually dropped in recent years, from 11.6 percent of people over age 65 in 2000 to 8.8 percent in 2012 .
The study was an observational one, so the scientists can’t say for sure what drove that decline. Factors such as better control of high blood pressure and greater educational attainment could help to explain the drop, Langa and his colleagues say.
In recent years, researchers have made strides in understanding how those and other factors might help prevent dementia. As it turns out, cognitive and psychological factors can go a long way toward protecting the brain. Now the task will be to translate that research into interventions that can delay or prevent the onset of dementia.
“This is a disease whose primary manifestations are psychological in nature, and psychologists will have a big role to play as we try to develop behavioral interventions,” says Robert S. Wilson, PhD, a neuropsychologist at the Rush University Alzheimer’s Disease Center.
How Active Do I Need To Be
A few lively walks a week is all you need! The group of walkers in this study went on a brisk walk 3 times a week, with each walk lasting around 40 minutes. They did this for 6 months and were then re-observed, having MRI scans on their brains and undertaking memory tests.
The MRI scans revealed that overall, this groups white matter had grown and was much healthier compared to their results at the beginning of the study. Their memory and cognitive test results had also improved compared to their initial test and to the other two groups.
CTA exercise as medicine
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Products And Strategies For Managing Dementia Wandering
Memory loss associated with Alzheimers disease and other types of dementia often causes seniors to become disoriented, confused and afraid. These conditions can erase memories of once familiar people and places and may result in dementia patients wandering away from home. In fact, the Alzheimers Association estimates that 60 percent of Alzheimers patients will wander at some point. The unpredictability of this dangerous dementia-related behavior can weigh heavily on caregivers and family members.
Hide Car Keys And House Keys
In addition to wandering on foot, people with Alzheimers might attempt to drive. Getting lost while driving not only endangers the dementia patient but also the public. Be sure to store keys to all vehicles and exterior doors in a secure place. Coats and shoes may trigger a dementia patients desire to go out or resume deeply engrained routines like running errands, picking up kids from school or driving to work. Keeping these items out of sight may help deter them.
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Brain Risk Factors That Can Be Controlled
- mental activity regularly challenging your brain with mentally stimulating activities through education, occupation or leisure is linked with lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia
- social activity participating in social activities and being connected with your community, family and friends is linked with a lower risk of dementia.
Reducing Your Risk For Dementia
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As you age, you may have concerns about the increased risk of dementia. You may have questions, too. Are there steps I can take to prevent it? Is there anything I can do to reduce my risk? There are currently no approaches that have been proven to effectively treat or prevent Alzheimers disease and related dementias. However, as with many other diseases, there may be steps you can take to help reduce your risk.
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Ways To Prevent Alzheimers Wandering
1. Install door and window alarms and locksMaking it difficult for someone with Alzheimers or dementia to get outside the house is essential to preventing wandering.
Simple home safety modifications can make it tough for them to open doors to the outside, including:
- Adding childproof door knob covers make it more difficult to open doors
- Installing an additional lock higher up on the door so theyre out of your older adults line of sight because people with dementia often dont look above eye level try this for regular doors and this for sliding patio doors
- Installing door and window alarms to alert you if theyre opened
- Using pressure-sensitive alarm mats next to their bed to alert you if they get up at night
- Using an alarm like SafeWander that can be triggered when a specific threshold is crossed
Important: Be aware of fire safety needs for everyone in the house. Make sure all locks are easily accessible to people without cognitive impairment. Doors should still be able to be opened quickly in case of emergency.
2. Camouflage doors that lead outsideAnother way to discourage your older adult from opening doors that lead outside is to camouflage them.
Often, people with dementia wont be able to find the door if you cover it up or wont open it if you place large signs on it.
You could also place large signs saying DO NOT ENTER or STOP on the door. Many people with dementia wont open a door with those types of signs.
Alzheimers Diet: 16 Foods To Fight Dementia + What To Avoid
The best Alzheimers diet is Dr. Dale Bredesens KetoFLEX 12/3 diet. This slightly-flexible ketogenic diet can lower your risk of developing Alzheimers disease or dementia, especially in the earliest stages of cognitive decline.
This revolutionary diet also encourages 12-hour fasting periods so the body has more time to repair cell damage. Make sure to not eat within 3 hours of going to bed either.
By eating foods such as green leafy vegetables, fish, nuts, and even an occasional glass of red wine, you can reduce your chances of developing Alzheimers.
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How Often Should You Change An Elderly Persons Diaper
Adult diapers must be changed frequently to prevent skin infections and rashes. The frequency largely depends on ones lifestyle, health, and budget. For most, diaper changes occur 5 to 8 times a day. This means that an average person with incontinence would need at least 150 diapers a month.
Dementia Prevention: 5 Steps To Take Now
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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Exercise And Activities To Promote An Active Lifestyle