We've all heard the stories on the news of someone's family member or neighbor found wandering outside of their home. That might be one of the early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
These two terms are often used as though they are the same thing, but they’re not. Dementia is a set of symptoms that have to do with memory and the way we think.
Alzheimer’s disease is just one of many causes of dementia. (1) Other causes include Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s Disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Dementia and its Symptoms
Dementia is a broad term that includes many symptoms. In its earliest stages, symptoms are hard to detect. Later, the person can function but begins to have trouble.
These troubles can include:
1. Loss of memory
2. Trouble finding words or speaking
3. Repeating themselves
4. Trouble focusing
5. Not understanding what they see
6. Changes in judgment
7. Struggles with normal tasks like paying bills or cooking
8. Personality changes
Dementia can be caused by different things. In some cases, it can be treated and the patient can improve.
Alzheimer’s disease and its Symptoms
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It affects the part of the brain that controls memory, thought, and language.
8 Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease include:
1. Trouble telling one color from another
2. Unable to judge distance
3. Loss of problem-solving skills
4. Frequent short-term memory failure
5. Loss of social skills
6. Loss of common sense
7. Wandering and getting lost
8. Losing a sense of time
Can Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia Be Prevented?
Certain lifestyle choices can lower your risks. These include:
Take steps to lower your blood pressure. Watch out for high cholesterol and treat diabetes.
Get plenty of exercise – People who get lots of exercise have healthier brain cells. This is because more exercise makes blood and oxygen pump into the brain. It also helps your heart health.
Did you know…even a single workout session can benefit your brain!
Eat a healthy diet – Eat a healthy diet with lots of whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Doing so will boost your heart health and protect your brain. (5)
Eat plenty of fish, nuts, olive oil, and other healthy fats. Try these top 4 brain foods for starters.
Have a strong social network – Keep mentally and socially active. Doing so has been linked to a lower risk of cognitive decline. (6)
Get the right amount of sleep – Studies have linked losing sleep to Alzheimer’s disease. It leads to an increase in blood levels of the amyloid proteins that are found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Engage your brain – Challenge your brain on a regular basis to keep it healthy. Though no one activity has been linked to preventing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it’s always a good idea to challenge your brain.
Having the information you need about warning signs of dementia and Alzheimer's disease is the best way to recognize them if they appear. And these lifestyle changes could be your best tools for prevention.
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Yours in health and happiness,
P.S. Please share this with anyone you know who might be concerned about dementia or related symptoms. Have you ever experienced memory issues? Please comment below!