World Alzheimer’s Day 2018: Signs to look out for and prevention tips
By: Rukmini Chopra
Published On: September 21, 2018
On World Alzheimer's Day 2018, we shed light on the symptoms of the disease and what you can do to prevent it
Alzheimer's is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions and is one of the most common causes for dementia. According to this report,a total of 3.7 million Indians are suffering from Alzheimer’s, and the figure is likely to double by 2030.
Though there is no cure for this disease, certain preventive measures can keep Alzheimer’s at bay. On World Alzheimer’s Day, here’s a look at the signs that you should be looking out for and what you can do to prevent this disease:
Alzheimer’s symptoms: Look out for frequent memory loss, confusion, changing mood etc.
1: Memory loss
This includes easily forgetting the information one has just learnt, looking track of important dates and events, remembering big incidents, constantly using memory lists or post-its to keep a track of things, asking for the same information again and again.
Don’t panic. If you are one of those who can’t remember where you kept your car keys, your phone but find them later, that’s fine. All of us can be pretty forgetful here and there. The symptoms mentioned above are more severe.
If these things happen to you or your loved one more often than usual, get a checkup.
2: Trouble doing daily chores
With the onset of Alzheimer’s, it gets difficult doing some of the most basic and routine chores such as taking your dog for a walk, watering your plants, cleaning the house or visiting the grocery store.
3: Trouble with solving problems and planning
One might find it increasingly difficult to solve problems at hand, and planning simple events like birthday parties, or their days. There’s also a red flag in a person’s behaviour when he/she has difficulty following numerous instructions or plans that involve too many things.
4: Confusion with time and places
Look out for signs when you find it hard to keep a track of time, lose your way easily, or forget how you arrived at a certain place.
5: Losing things frequently
Image credit: Wiki
Misplacing things once in a while is totally normal. However, if you face difficulty in retracing your steps, then you should be mindful of the same. Another sign is placing things in unusual places such as your TV remote in the refrigerator and accusing people easily when you misplace your stuff.
6: Finding conversations frustrating
People can find it hard to find the right word they are looking for, during conversations. They can even call things by their wrong name. Sometimes it becomes a struggle for one to join in a conversation and follow it.
They might even stop in the middle of a conversation, forgetting what they have to say next.
7: Poor decision making
Making apt decisions can be a struggle. One might even stop taking care of himself/herself and wear weather-inappropriate clothes such as wearing a sweater in summer.
8: Changes in mood
One might come across as irritable, anxious, depressed, anxious and sensitive.
9: Withdraw from social circles
One of the signs of Alzheimer’s is also social withdrawal. A person might feel demotivated, less involved with their favorite hobbies, lagging behind on office work etc.
10: Changes in vision
Trouble with eyesight, telling colours apart, reading the paper are important signs to look out for.
It’s important to note that Alzheimer’s can affect any and everyone and it’s not necessary that this disease will affect one during old age alone. People in their 40s and 50s too can develop Alzheimer’s. Here are some preventive measures that you can take.
Prevention of Alzheimer’s
1: Exercise regularly
Research shows that exercising regularly reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s upto 50 percent. A certain amount of physical activity helps in keeping the brain stimulated.
A combination of cardio and weight training is ideal, followed by some aerobic exercise, 3 times a week. Another recommended form is balancing exercises such as Yoga, Tai Chi etc.
2: Follow a healthy diet
While it is essential to follow a healthy diet nonetheless, to prevent Alzheimer’s, it vital that you follow these steps:
Cut down on sugar: High blood sugar levels can result in inflammation of your brain. Cut down on sugar and other sugary foods such as white flour, white rice, pasta etc.
Follow a Mediterranean diet: Research shows that following this type of diet which includes leafy vegetable, beans, fish etc. reduces the risk of cognitive impairment.
Have lots of fruits and vegetables: This helps in maximizing protective antioxidants in the body.
Have tea regularly: Studies have shown that having regular cups of tea may enhance mental alertness as well as memory.
3: Engage in mentally stimulating activities
There are several activities that you can indulge in to keep your brain active. These include:
Learning something new: Learn an instrument or a sport, pick up a new book, enroll in a language class etc.
Engage in puzzles and riddles: Solve crossword puzzles, riddles, sudoku puzzles, etc.
Enjoy memory games: Try to remember countries and their capitals, or the presidents of India and challenge yourself regularly- these help in keeping your memory skills intact.
Practice the 5 W’s: Who, what, where, when, why- associate visual details with these 5 W’s to keep your brain active.
4: Have quality sleep
Research shows that people suffering from Alzheimer’s also suffer from insomnia and other sleep problems. Hence quality sleep is vital in preventing Alzheimer’s. Here’s what you can do:
1: Set a sleeping schedule: Set a time to got to bed and a time to wake up. A regular sleeping schedule will help improve your sleeping patterns.
2: Have a relaxing bedtime ritual: Avoid watching television or using your phone right before you go to bed. Instead, listen to relaxing music or read a book.
3: Get yourself for sleep Apnea: This is a condition where your sleep is disrupted due difficulty in breathing. This is potentially dangerous condition and should be tended to at the earliest.
5: Manage your stress levels
High levels of stress in the body directly impact the brain, resulting in memory loss and hampering nerve cell growth. Here’s what you can do to reduce your stress levels:
Indulge in relaxing activities: This can include anything you find fun and relaxing be it dancing, playing an instrument, shopping, cooking, exercising etc.
Mediate: Take out at least 10-15 minutes of your time to meditate; this helps in maintaining inner peace
Do things that make you laugh: Laughter directly reduces stress. This can include reading up jokes, watching funny films or podcasts, watching stand up comedy shows, etc.
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