Today marks World Alzheimer’s Day, a global initiative dedicated to raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurological condition that affects millions of people worldwide, causing memory loss, cognitive decline, and significant challenges in daily life.
On this day, organizations, healthcare professionals, and communities come together to educate, support those affected, and advocate for increased funding and resources to combat Alzheimer’s and enhance the quality of life for affected individuals. There are a multitude of other symptoms that can also occur in this condition such as personality changes, language disturbances, and an inability to perform tasks that were familiar previously.
Alzheimer’s occurs as a result of degeneration of the brain. Ageing and genetic factors are the foremost established risk factors. Other significant reasons also often come into play and some of these environmental and behavioural risk factors are labeled “modifiable” or “lifestyle” risk factors. These are now known to be extremely important in the initiation, development, evolution, and advancement of the disease.
The value of these “Lifestyle” risks cannot be overstated because even with tremendous advances in this field of science, there is no cure. The best available modalities of therapy can only control symptoms to some extent and slow down the progression of this disease at present.
Dr Rajashekar Reddi, Principal Director, of Neurology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket explains lifestyle changes that may reduce Alzheimer’s risk.
Some Important Lifestyle Risk Factors Include:
Dr Reddi shares a diet rich in antioxidants and that which results in reduced metabolic derangements is thought to be beneficial in preventing Dementia. A high-fibre diet (green leafy vegetables) with minimal saturated fat is protective. Avoiding red meat is recommended. Reducing processed food and salt is also desirable.
Dr Reddi explains sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of developing dementia. The adage “Keep Moving to Keep Moving ”is important to remember as is “Sitting is the new Smoking.”
Dr Reddi says, “Use It or Lose it” is another saying that is important to keep in mind to prevent Alzheimer’s. Games to promote mental health such as Scrabble, chess, word jumbles, crosswords, sudoku, and jigsaw puzzles are used to prevent and slow down memory decline.
Dr Reddi shares that smoking is well-known to be associated with brain degeneration. Smoking results in brain damage by multiple mechanisms that cause memory loss.
Dr Reddi shares, that there is new data now that shows that any alcohol consumption may be deleterious to brain health.
Dr Reddi explains absence of social interactions increases the risk and progression of Dementia. Loneliness and Depression may play a part in developing this disease.
Dr Reddi shares that reducing mental stress by various methods is thought to be beneficial.
Shakespeare called Sleep “Tired Nature’s Sweet Restorer”:
Dr Reddi explains adequate and appropriate timing of Sleep also plays a very important role in maintaining and restoring memory functions.