Wellness Wednesday: Alzheimer’s awareness and brain health
Alzheimer’s Disease is a sickness that we are all too familiar with. While factors play a role in contributing to one’s risk, there is no definite cause as to who will develop the disease as they age.
As June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Awareness Month, we feel it is important to educate our community on the prevalence of Alzheimer’s and the precautionary steps we can take starting today.
Whether you have a loved one with the disease or are struggling with it yourself, we want to emphasize that you are not alone in this journey. Gig Harbor Primary Care works continuously to make it known that families in Gig Harbor have support in all of their unique health battles.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Though Alzheimer’s Disease was discovered in 1906, we still have many questions and few solutions accessible. Those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s undergo a decline in memory as they age. It is widely varied from person to person and can lead to a vast array of symptoms including difficulty completing tasks, communicating with others, and caring for one’s self.
Some Alzheimer’s Disease facts:
- Alzheimer’s occurs when neurons in the brain are damaged. These neurons are responsible for the brain’s role in thinking as well as all motor skills.
- Just because a family member has been diagnosed does not mean you are guaranteed to develop the disease. However, It can affect how likely you are to be diagnosed in the future.
- Over 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease.
- The disease is most commonly diagnosed at age 65 and above. However, it is possible to develop symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s beginning as early as your 30s.
- Alzheimer’s Disease causes more deaths than those with breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. This statistic is the unfortunate truth that individuals struggle with each and every day.
- While there is no cure for the disease, there are possible treatment options available that can slow progression and alleviate difficult symptoms.
What can lead to Alzheimer’s Disease?
It’s often wondered what factors contribute to one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Though there is no one definite answer, a variety of factors have been found to have a correlation including age, gender, genetics and other health conditions.
A person’s everyday lifestyle habits can also play a substantial role. As with anything else, it’s important to monitor your vascular health, sleep patterns, and physical exercise.
Alcohol and tobacco usage can result in poor aging, so we recommend avoiding nicotine products and suggest keeping alcohol intake to a minimum. However, it is always important to consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your health.
Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia
Dementia is actually an umbrella term for many different mental disorders resulting in the loss of memory and other thinking skills. Alzheimer’s Disease is the number one form of dementia, but there are various other diseases that fall under the definition of dementia, including Vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies.
Improve and maintain brain health
To ensure your brain stays in its healthiest state as you age, be sure to engage in physical activity, get enough sleep, and eat lots of nutrient-dense foods like leafy green vegetables, berries and fish.
Your brain is a powerful organ that holds responsibility for your entire life. To retain all of its cognitive function, you must choose to consistently stimulate your brain. Activities like reading, puzzles, and games are by far more beneficial for an aging mind than watching excessive amounts of TV.
Social interaction has a substantial effect on your neural networks, which is why we recommend making it a priority. While you may feel relaxed engaging with friends or family at a summer BBQ, keep in mind that your brain is working hard and growing stronger.