September is International Dementia Awareness Month, in line with this, a global campaign called World Alzheimer’s Month has been launched in 2012 by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) - an umbrella organization of 94 Alzheimer associations around the world.
Here in Australia, a national awareness-raising campaign called Dementia Awareness Month is run by Dementia Australia throughout the month of September every year. This year’s theme is "Dementia doesn't discriminate. Do you?" that will help tackle the relationship between discrimination and dementia.
Vitaminsonly.com.au supports both international and national campaigns to raise awareness and understanding of the condition. In this article, we will tell you more information about dementia and the vitamins that help boost memory to help you and your loved ones prevent the risks of having any type of brain disease and reduce the progression of cognitive impairment.
What is Dementia?
Dementia or major neurocognitive disorder is the common term used to call conditions that affect the brain. It causes problems with your memory, reasoning, speech, and emotion. Sadly, it is the leading cause of disability among the elderly and there’s still no known cure for this.
Types of Dementia:
There are over 100 forms of dementia, but some of the most common types are:
Parkinson’s disease.An age-related degenerative condition that affects brain cells which leads to tremors and loss of coordination.
Huntington’s disease. An inherited form of dementia leads to the death of brain cells which stops certain parts of the brain to function properly over time.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). A rare fatal brain disorder that progresses rapidly caused by prion- an abnormal infectious protein in the brain that destroys brain cells.
Pick’s disease. Also known as “Frontotemporal dementia”, a syndrome that involves the shrinking of the temporal and frontal anterior lobes of the brain.
Vascular dementia. The second most common form of dementia. It happens when there is not enough blood going to your brain caused by blockages in blood vessels.
Alzheimer’s disease. The most common type which gets worse over time. It happens when fibers and proteins build up in your brain that destroy nerve cells and block nerve signals.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s is a progressive condition which is the most common cause of dementia among the elderly. According to Australian Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a degenerative neurological condition caused by nerve cell death resulting in shrinkage of the brain and cognitive impairment.
Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
changes in behaviour, personality and mood
problems with reading, speaking and writing
changes in eating and sleeping patterns
difficulty in learning and concentration
disorientation in time and place
difficulty to perform daily tasks
agitation and hallucinations
short-term memory loss
anxiety and depression
Facts about Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
In November 1901, German neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Alois Alzheimer has recorded the first case of presenile dementia of which he reported the case of Auguste Deter, a 51-year-old woman that had specific changes in her brain.
According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, dementia affects almost 50 million people worldwide and for every 3 seconds someone in the world develops this condition.
About 5-8% of adults over 65 have some form of brain disease and 60-80% of people with dementia have Alzheimer’s. September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day
According to Dementia Australia, currently there are approximately 413, 106 Australians who are living with dementia and more than 1,800 Australians are being diagnosed with chronic brain disorder every week.
The number of Australians with dementia is expected to increase to almost 1, 100, 890 by 2056 which will cost the Australian economy more than $36.8 billion dollars.
For this year, dementia has been estimated to cost Australia more than $15 billion dollars.
Simple Ways to Prevent Alzheimer’s
Here are some simple ways that can keep your brain healthy and young that would help you in reducing the risk of having dementia:
1. Take Regular Exercise. According to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, regular exercise benefits the brain cells by increasing the blood and oxygen flow to the brain which may help reduce your risk of developing dementia by up to 50 per cent.
2.Be socially active and always think positive.Being positive and socially active will help improve your mental health and will reduce the onset of dementia. It is also associated with decreased rates of mortality and disability.
3. Do mental exercises and activities. You may learn new things and skills for you to keep your mind working and active. You could learn a new hobby or be involved in formal education for this will support your brain health.
4. Have quality sleep. A good night’s sleep will help energize your mind. Sleep and rest are essential to boost your brain that will protect you from having Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.
5.Listen to Music. Studies reveal that music helps people suffering from dementia recall their emotions and memories. Also, music can have positive effects on your behavior and cognition.
6. Meditate and reduce stress.Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce cortisol which is the stress hormone that could increase the risk of developing dementia. Meditation helps protect our brain by increasing protective tissues on our brain.
7. Have a healthy diet. All the nutrients that you take from all the foods that you eat have an impact on your brain health. It has been found that the Mediterranean diet which includes nuts, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, little red meat, fish and other healthy fats may help protect your brain.
Vitamins and Supplements that Boost Memory
Read and know the following vitamins that could help you and your loved ones improve your brain health, boost memory and alleviate symptoms of dementia:
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine). Studies show that low thiamine levels can lead to forgetfulness, while high levels help promote the development of a healthy brain since it is necessary for neurotransmission.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin). Considered as an 'anti-stress' vitamin, which also helps in the proper functioning of the nervous system. Studies show that cobalamin deficiency can lead to cognitive impairment.
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid). It plays a significant role in the development of the central nervous system, as well as the metabolism of neurotransmitters. Low level of folate is linked to poor cognitive function.
Vitamin E (Alpha-Tocopherol).A fat-soluble thatacts as an antioxidant which easily enters the brain and helps maintain healthy cell membranes.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid).Studies reveal that vitamin C has been associated with better cognitive performance in non-demented patients that helps prevent the development of Alzheimer's disease.
Resveratrol.A flavonoid that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit patients with Alzheimer's disease. It helps reduce damages on the neurons.
Phosphatidylserine (PS). A cell membrane component that regulates membrane fluidity, improves memory and provides protection for your brain. Studies suggest that it may be beneficial in older people who have mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.
Omega-3. High intake of Omega-3 fatty acids is associated with lower risk of dementia since it is significant in proper cellular functions that affect neuronal membrane function and brain activity.
Selenium.Proven to be significant in the maintenance of brain functions. Studies also suggest that selenoproteins could help delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
Ginkgo Biloba.A botanical medicine that was widely used to help treat and slow the progression of dementia. It contains flavonoids that act as an antioxidant which improves the cerebral blood flow, cognition and memory.
Just always remember that it is very much important to only take medications that are prescribed by your healthcare professional. Talk to your healthcare provider or your general practitioner if you are experiencing signs and symptoms of dementia.
You can also call the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 to know more information about the condition.
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