Ways to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease, a chronic neurodegenerative disease, is the most common form of dementia and is characterised by the build-up of two types of protein in the brain: tangles (tau) and plaques (amyloid-beta). This build up of proteins ultimately destroys the remaining healthy braincells and normal bodily functions are lost, eventually leading to death. The speed of progression may vary in individuals inflicted with the disease, but the average expected life expectancy post diagnosis is 3-9 years.
The Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease
The exact cause of Alzheimer’s Disease is still widely unknown, however in 1 % of all diagnoses there are 3 genes that determine without question whether you will develop the disease and all 3 relate to the production of the amyloid-beta protein. For the other 99% of diagnoses, the overproduction of amyloid-beta and tau proteins are closely associated, but there are many other factors which may contribute to the development of symptoms such as vascular risk factors, lifestyle, and inflammation in the brain.
The Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
Short-term memory loss on a minor scale, such as forgetting where you parked your car or where you left your keys, can be frustrating but is not necessarily a symptom of the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. There’s a difference between forgetting where the car keys are and the more serious signs of memory loss such as forgetting what car keys are used for.
The early symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease include:
- Frequent memory loss
- Confusion surrounding location
- Taking longer to complete regular daily tasks
- Difficulty handling money – such as when playing at River Belle Casino
- Loss of spontaneity
- Mood and personality changes
If you are experiencing a decline in memory loss so severe that it is interrupting your ability to perform your average daily routine, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Healthy Habits to Increase Prevention
Exercise: The most convincing evidence available with regards to the prevention or slowing down of the disease is that physical exercise can contribute greatly. Professionals recommend 30 minutes of moderately vigorous exercise of the aerobic variety 3-4 times a week.
A Mediterranean diet: This diet includes plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits; olive oil; wholegrains; nuts; legumes; fish; moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, and dairy; moderate amounts of red wine; and red meat very sparingly. This diet has proven to prevent the disease or help slow its progression.
Adequate sleep: There is increasing evidence that getting enough sleep can help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease as it is directly linked to greater clearance of amyloid-beta proteins from the brain. As such, you should aim for 7-8 hours a night.
Possible Steps to Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
While evidence of these lifestyle improvements in preventing or decreasing the chances of developing Alzheimer’s Disease is limited at this stage, these steps may indeed be effective, and studies are ongoing.
Continuous learning: Activities which are cognitively stimulating may increase your chances of preventing the disease, but studies have shown that these activities are often limited to improvement in a learned task, such as a thinking skills test.
Social connection: Various studies have shown evidence that greater social contact assists in the prevention of Alzheimer’s, however this information is from observational studies only.