Are you scared of getting Alzheimer’s disease? Apparently a lot of people are, in fact I saw that 690K of them were cogitating about this on the internet!
I must say that getting Alzheimer’s doesn’t appeal to me, it’s a horrible disease where the brain deteriorates to the point where a person ultimately loses their cognitive abilities and can’t function without help. This situation can last for many years in a person’s life, much to the distress of their relatives. Sometimes the person can be affected as early as late middle age.
I have an interest in neurological conditions, and having worked in preventative medicine for much of my working life I researched ways to prevent getting Alzheimer’s. Sometimes there is a genetic component, but there is still much that we can do to avoid getting the disease.
How to keep your marbles!
- Exercise, daily, huff and puff stuff. Walk, swim, water aerobics or ride a bike if you can.
- If you are overweight, slim down to a reasonable size so that you can exercise. Being overweight can contribute to sleep apnoea which has been implicated in Alzheimer’s.
- Get a good night’s sleep. It is vital that sleep apnoea is treated as people with the condition actually don’t sleep well. They snore, and can actually stop breathing several times a night which reduces the supply of oxygen to the body and particularly the brain. They feel tired and sluggish the next day and are disinclined then to exercise which compounds the problem. The brain needs oxygen to repair itself during the night’s sleep.
- Eat healthy, especially foods containing Omega 3, like salmon, sardines, tuna, or take a fish oil supplement. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, blueberries for the anti-oxidants, and foods rich in Folate.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegies, and buy blueberries which have antioxidants which can fight the inflammation that causes memory loss. The “Mediterranean Diet” seems to have all the good foods which keep us healthy. Note how all these factors are connected!
- Give meditation a go, it’s simple to learn, and once you get into the habit it is most relaxing, and gives the whole body a chance to heal.
- Keep your blood pressure down. Keep to a sensible weight, STOP SMOKING, and monitor what you are eating, e.g., too much salt pushes the blood pressure up so the doctors say, and exercise daily.
- Avoid taking anti-anxiety medications for more than three months. They apparently predispose you to Alzheimers by hindering the clearing out of the damaging amyloid beta from the brain. There are other non-drug ways of managing /lessening long term anxiety, for example, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy which you can learn.
- Try to have an active social life. Make sure you talk to at least one person a day to prevent isolation, and to maintain some stimulation for your brain. Having a pet cat or dog may help – skip the goldfish!
- Get into games, puzzles, and internet brain training.
- Take up dancing, or learn a language. Doing these activities forces you to remember what you are doing, e.g., the parts of the dance, or with language, developing your brain by adding on a new vocabulary and remembering new grammatical rules.
Heaps to do, so get cracking!
For other relevant details (e.g., early signs of Alzheimer’s, how to meditate or relax, how to get a good night’s sleep + heaps more) on my blog or try an Alzheimer’s information centre for specific help.
© Kathleen Crawford 2016.