Dementia is a common word for memory failure, vocabulary loss, diminished problem-solving, and the loss of other cognitive abilities that are significant enough to conflict with everyday life. Dementia for older people is fairly common, especially for the over 80’s, and Alzheimer’s syndrome is the worst form of dementia. However, the common belief is that there is nothing one can do if diagnosed with either dementia, or Alzheimer’s, when in fact, the causes of the memory failure and other cognitive failings are manifold, and most of them are within our grasp and power to address and mitigate.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is the general concept of cognitive decline and includes the loss of other essential skills. Dementia, not a particular disease, is an overarching term — like coronary disease — that includes a wide variety of unique medical disorders, including Alzheimer’s. Pathological shifts in the brain trigger abnormalities categorized under the common word “dementia.”
Signs of dementia can differ significantly. These can include:
- Short-term to long-term memory disorders
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty in carrying out typical tasks
- Losing track of a conversation
- Confusion about the time or place
- Changes in mood
Many symptoms are chronic, which implies that the symptoms of dementia begin progressively and eventually escalate. If a person has retention problems or other waning of cognitive abilities, do not neglect them. Do some research of potential triggers, see a functional medicine practitioner to assess nutritional deficiencies, have blood tests done and see your health care practitioner. A great book to read for a complete overview of the lifestyle triggers for declining mental capacity is: Where Did I Leave My Keys: How to keep your brain sharp as you age. By Jules Allen-Rowland
What Causes Dementia?
Dementia develops from brain cell insults. These small insults, such as trauma, inhibit the capacity of neurons to interact in a correlational fashion. If neurons cannot interact regularly, there might be an impairment of thoughts, actions, and emotions.
While most brain changes that cause dementia are thought to be irreversible and, left to their own devices, may increase with time, many declining cognitive processes, are experienced in the absence of ‘true’ dementia. A differential diagnosis is not to be taken lightly as many conditions, including nutritional deficiencies and lifestyle habits, may have symptoms that mimic dementia, or even Alzheimer’s, especially in the early phases.
- Medication side effects
- Excessive consumption of alcohol.
- Problems of the thyroid.
- Deficiencies in vitamins.
How to Diagnose Dementia?
In short, no definitive examination exists yet to assess whether anyone has dementia. Doctors diagnosis Alzheimer’s as well as other forms of this disease based on careful psychiatric records, clinical evaluation, diagnostic testing, and irregular shifts in perception, daily function, and actions of each severity. Doctors may assess if an individual develops dementia with such a substantial degree of certainty. However, making a diagnosis of a condition, which is, in effect, giving a name to a set of symptoms, is very different to finding out what the ‘cause’ of the condition may be and of course, establishing the cause is helpful if one wants to prevent degeneration or even reverse the condition.
How to Treat Dementia?
Dementia care relies on the cause. Find the cause and hopefully one is on the way towards treating the condition. However, for more advanced dementia, namely Alzheimer’s disorder, the common belief that no remedy or therapy delays or prevents its development is proving flawed. The work of Dr Dale Bredesan has shown that diagnosed Alzheimer’s, certainly in its early stages, can be reversed, so before giving up, there are protocols and lifestyle changes that can be made that may prove very beneficial.
How to Avoid Dementia?
Recent evidence indicates that there are measures we can and should do to lessen the probability of moderate cognitive disability and dementia for older people.
Some of the contributing factors for this condition, like age and genes, cannot be modified but it is helpful to note that simply because we have the genetic propensity for a particular condition, it does not mean we are assured of getting the condition, and both dementia and Alzheimer’s are no exception. Experts continue to investigate the effect of other contributing factors on neurological function and the avoidance of dementia.
Dementia is an umbrella terminology for anything related to memory loss or INABILITY to recall memories due to damaged neurons. However, this condition is preventable, as stated in several studies. So, people should care enough to prevent this condition from happening.
An extract from ‘Where Did I Leave My Keys?’ A summary of activities, – the why’s and how-to’s, having been discussed in great detail in the book.
Look at what you achieved? You…
- Addressed whether your memory is still sharp and faced whether you need to do something about it before it got worse.
- Threw away foods and spices that contain MSG or Aspartame in order to protect your neuro- transmitters.
- Addressed some of your own habits. Ones that you know are detrimental to brain health.
- Added more magnesium rich foods to your diet.
- Added a mix of colourful foods to your diet in order to eat a rainbow daily.
- Added some colourful fruits and veggies to your shopping basket, every time your shopped.
- Made a gorgeous salad, filled with a rainbow of goodness.
- Watched a few funny movies and tried to see life from a more positive perspective to assist your telomeres.
- Took a media holiday to give your brain a break from news disasters and negativity.
- Spent some time in the sun
- Added a manageable time schedule for exercise, a few times a week.
- Reviewed your blood test results. Had some brain- important ones retested.
- Added more omega 3 and green tea to your daily intake.
- Tried a new blueberry and chia smoothie.
- Added zinc to your diet.
- Addressed your hormones, especially if you are peri-menopausal or menopausal.
- Limited yourself to only one insulin promoting treat a day.
- Had your thyroid properly tested with TSH, free T4 and free T3 measured.
- Added apples and berries to your daily diet to activate sirtuins.
- Added holy basil, lemon balm and lavender to your herb garden
- Enjoyed some deliciously prepared broccoli several times in the month.
- Checked your homocysteine levels.
- Checked your gene SNP’s with a knowledgeable health practitioner.
- Started adding turmeric to your stews and eggs.
- Downloaded a few brain- developing programs onto your phone and practiced every day.
- Monitored your prescribed medication to see if it affects brain health. Discussed safer alternatives with your doctor.
- Added Brussels sprouts to your meal a few times a week.
- Became aware of potential toxins in your daily habits.
- Reviewed your own daily schedule and habits and incorporated brain-healthy changes wherever possible.