Doctors discover ways to protect against Alzheimer’s disease

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

Dementia is mainly associated with old age.

A picture: Shutterstock

September 21 is International Alzheimer’s Awareness Day. It is with her that dementia is most often associated, which is primarily associated with old age.

“Of course I forget everything, this is already age!” – such phrases can be heard by still quite young people. Here’s just one “but”: Not everyone has amnesia with age. But because of this common misconception, the early signs of dementia often go unnoticed.

Andrey Ilnitsky, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Professor, Head of the Department of Therapy, Geriatrics and Anti-aging Medicine of the Academy of Postgraduate Education of the Federal Scientific and Clinical Center of the Federal Medical and Biological Agency of Russia, Member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Project Consultant dementia.net talked about how cognitive disorders arise and what to do to reduce the risks of their occurrence.

WHERE DEMENTIA COME FROM

Dementia is a syndrome in which there is a severe impairment of cognitive functions. This negatively affects not only the patient’s own life, but also the life of his loved ones. Symptoms that help to recognize dementia may seem less important: some distraction, forgetfulness, character changes, disorientation in time and space, difficulty with daily activities that previously caused no problems.

It seems that none of us forgot the birthday of a friend, the name and patronymic of a distant relative, and none canceled a bad mood. However, the appearance of these symptoms, and especially their increase, can be the first signs that it is time to seek help from specialists.

Several risk factors lead to the development of dementia:

– heredity,

– heart and vascular disease,

– head wound,

– diabetes mellitus,

– lack of physical and social activity,

– bad habits (smoking, excessive alcohol consumption), which disrupt the normal functioning of the brain and lead to the death of nerve cells.

– With regard to the diagnosis of dementia, nothing can be attributed to age, – says Andrei Ilnitsky. – Impaired memory, impaired behavior and functionality to the extent that it reduces quality of life is not a necessary characteristic of aging. They indicate the presence of some kind of disease, it is likely that one of the forms of dementia. Therefore, if you observe any kind of strangeness, excessive forgetfulness, changes in behavior in loved ones or people around you, you should encourage this person to contact their doctor, who will make the correct diagnosis and prescribe modern therapy.

DEMENTIA IS NOT ALZHEIMER

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for about 60% of all cases. Yet, 40% of dementia has nothing to do with Alzheimer’s disease.

– The exact causes of the development of Alzheimer’s disease are not fully understood, – Andrey Ilnitsky continues. – It is only known to be based on the pathological activity of specific proteins, some of which have a toxic effect on neurons and disrupt intercellular communication, while others have a negative effect on the transport system of neurons and are toxic to brain cells. The modern hypothesis about the development of the disease is that the disease occurs precisely because of a violation of the normal output of proteins from the brain. As a result, the amount of proteins accumulates and, after crossing a certain threshold, causes the disease.

As a rule, Alzheimer’s disease occurs after the age of 65, but there are earlier forms.

CAN DEMENTIA BE PREVED?

Unfortunately, it is currently impossible to completely rule out all risk factors for dementia. But you can and should initially think about what helps to delay the onset of the disease in old age as much as possible.

1. Take care of yourself.

First of all, it is necessary to give up bad habits – smoking and alcohol addiction lead not only to dementia, but also to a number of other serious diseases.

Take care of yourself, don’t neglect medical exams – timely identified and corrected thyroid, pressure or heart problems can be the first step to prevent dementia in the future.

2. Lose weight.

A normal body mass index can help prevent the co-morbidities of dementia, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Diet should be balanced and varied, remember that problems with blood vessels are often the result of high cholesterol levels due to an excess of saturated animal fats in the diet, easily digestible carbohydrates and an increased calorie content in the diet. A good choice is the Mediterranean diet, rich in fish, vegetables and slow carbohydrates.

3. Walk.

Do not forget about physical activity: walking, fitness, any exercise. The main thing is regularity. During exercise, the blood is saturated with oxygen, which nourishes the brain and has a positive effect on memory, reduces the number of headaches and improves blood flow to tissues.

4. Don’t be nervous.

Try to reduce stress as much as possible, keep work and rest in balance, watch your sleep.

5. Live a rich life.

Think of the activities you enjoy: sports, communication in thematic circles. Lessons for the development of fine motor skills will be very useful, for example, pottery lessons that have become fashionable lately or drawing, cognitive gymnastics (solving crosswords, scan words, etc.).

Any cognitive activity will help increase the number of neural connections – it’s never too late to learn a new language for yourself or sign up for art or literature lectures. Try to maintain the right level of socialization, even if you are an introvert: communication and exchange of opinions will provide food for thought, and interesting discussions will support cognitive skills.

INCIDENTALLY

Geriatricians predict: Alzheimer’s disease patients could become three times more in the next 30 years

Researcher, Laboratory of Neurogeriatrics, Russian Gerontological Research and Clinical Center, Russian National Medical Research University. NI Pirogova, candidate of medical sciences, associate professor, neurologist Maria Cherdak mentioned 5 facts about Alzheimer’s disease:

1. Worldwide there are about 50 million people with dementia, in 60-70% of cases it is caused by Alzheimer’s disease. According to predictions, the number of patients with Alzheimer’s disease in the world will triple in the next 30 years.

2. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most studied diseases of our time, with new data coming in from various studies almost daily.

3. Most of the negative symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can be overcome without additional medication by organizing care and communication with the patient. However, the choice for specific basic therapy against dementia considerably reduces the burden on both carers and relatives.

4. At least 85% of the burden of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease falls on family and friends, increasing the risk of dementia for caregivers in the future, even if they are not immediate relatives.

5. The most important guarantee for prevention of dementia is a healthy lifestyle: exercise, healthy food and high mental and social activity. Even simple walking significantly reduces the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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