Hope for Alzheimer’s Disease

Over 3.7 million people in India suffer from Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  Alzheimer’s is a progressive degenerative disorder of the brain which results in loss of memory and decision making skills, as well as the leads to inability to carry out even simple tasks.

WHY DOES ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE OCCUR?

No one is quite sure of the cause of Alzheimer’s, but many factors have been identified that lead to its development. Recent research shows that in the elderly, atherosclerosis in the arteries of the brain is more severe in individuals with AD than in others.  Due to narrowed arteries, the oxygen supply to the brain is reduced and destruction and death of brain cells ensues. As a result, loss of memory, personality changes, and other problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease occur.

Chronic inflammation has also been linked to AD as well.  There is increasing evidence that certain substances known as glycotoxins found in foods, especially fatty animal foods, deep fried foods, dairy, and processed foods contribute to chronic inflammation.  Foods containing trans fats and sugar are also known to increase inflammation.

LIFESTYLE MATTERS

Certain lifestyle practices help people stay alert and healthy as they age and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

A Nutritious Diet 

Antioxidants help fight inflammation.  Herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables contain a high concentration of antioxidants.  Vitamins C and E help protect the cells against cell damage caused by glycotoxins. Turmeric is known to reduce inflammation and has been scientifically proven to help reduce the symptoms of AD when taken regularly.

Physical Activity

Moderate intensity aerobic activity is possible for most elderly individuals and it improves the blood flow to all parts of the body, including the brain.

Social interaction and mentally stimulating activities

Physical activity keeps our body strong, and similarly mental activity can help keep our minds engaged and challenged as one ages. Activities like learning to play a musical instrument, playing word games, crossword puzzles, starting a new hobby, reading the newspaper, books, or learning a new language all help keep the mind active.   Keeping in touch with family and friends also helps slow down the progression of dementia.

MBBS, DO, DPHN
Ophthalmologist, Nutritionist

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