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Don't Lose Your Mind

Alzheimers Information Packet
The most astounding of memory loss statistics is this: everyone experiences some form of memory loss.
1 February 2010  |  000 Views  |  Your Health

Although we may not realize it, everybody experiences some form of memory loss. As we age, our brain cells slowly die, causing various degrees of memory loss. More significant memory loss statistics are those concerning Alzheimer's disease, a major cause of memory loss in seniors. Alzheimer's disease is known to occur in an estimated 4.5 million Americans. Based on the data used to determine this estimation, experts have also theorized that an estimated 11 to 16 million Americans will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease by 2050. However, if continued research leads to a treatment that could delay the onset of Alzheimer's by 5 years, the estimated number of diagnosed patients would drop by 50% in 50 years. These statistics reveal the importance of ongoing research, if we hope to dramatically decrease the number of patients with memory loss.

Interestingly, the things we need to do to protect ourselves from dementia, are pretty close to the things we need to do to protect ourselves from heart disease. High cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and smoking have long been considered – and aggressively treated – as risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These same cardiovascular risk factors in middle age may also significantly increase the risk of dementia in old age.

Description Through use of the computer lab, the Center is able to promote early computer literacy.

This was also explored in research of "Mixed Dementia" that suggested the same actions by senior citizens to prevent heart attacks or strokes will also prevent memory loss and other problems of dementia. Mixed dementia is a combination of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, caused in part by problems with blood flow in the brain. What follows is ten recommendations from Harvard, that corrolate to reports in SeniorJournal.com.

10 Ways To Support Your Memory:
  • 1. Protect your head
    Head injuries are one cause of memory problems. Avoid falls by improving the lighting in your home, getting rid of slippery rugs, items you might stumble over, and sharp edges you might hit if you fall. Use the seat belts in your car and a helmet when biking or skating.

  • 2. Exercise Your Body
    Physical exercise keeps the blood flowing to the brain. If you can, try to walk 30 minutes a day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park far from your destination. Lift soup cans for arm strength. Learn to swim. Vacuum, garden, and try to get a little out of breath at least once a day.

  • 3. Exercise Your Brain
    Keep your brain active. do puzzles, practice memorizing numbers or names, read, write, play card games, do crossword puzzles, go to lectures, participate in studies that make you think, learn something new, develop a new skill.

  • 4. Keep in Touch
    Social contact is an important part of brain health. Keep up with friends and family, meet new people, start a conversation, volunteer, join a club.

  • 5. Manage Chronic Diseases Well
    Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke can increase memory problems. So can chronic infections. These health problems can be prevented and/or managed through exercise, diet and medication.

  • 6. Watch Your Numbers
    Keep these at recommended levels: body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Being overweight increases your risk for Alzheimer's Disease.

  • 7. A Heart-Healthy Diet is a Brain-Healthy Diet
    Eat less: animal fat and transfat, sugar and sugary sodas, fried chicken, ham hocks, lard, donuts, candy, processed foods.

    Eat more: fresh vegetables (leafy greens), fruits (especially blueberries), whole grains, nuts, brown rice, beans, natural peanut butter, foods made from scratch.

  • 8. Control Your Vices
    Smoking, too much alcohol (more than 7 drinks a week), and narcotics (street drugs) are bad for your memory.

  • 9. Check Your Meds
    Some medications may inhibit memory functions. Check with your doctor if you have sudden changes in memory after taking a new medication.

  • 10. Get Depression and Anxiety Treated
    Depression can lead to memory problems. Your doctor can refer you to a therapist or prescribe medication to help reduce anxiety and depression.

Denise P. Logan
- Writer
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