Senior citizens are most vulnerable to a host of mental illnesses-Alzheimer’s being a more common one. No one has been able to identify what exactly causes the disease. Though it has been established that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s increases with age. For a 60 year old, the probability of developing Alzheimer’s is one in twenty, which jumps to one in five as soon the persons hits eighty.
Causes of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is a slowly progressing brain disorder that originates at that part of the brain responsible for maintaining and controlling memory. With time, the disease begins affecting the patient’s emotional, intellectual and behavioural abilities. The disease strikes when the brain cells start dying. Alzheimer’s is classified as a degenerative disease and leads to mental deterioration with age. The most common risk factors for Alzheimer is age, heredity and family history. It still remains a puzzle for doctors as to how the risk of Alzheimer’s increases drastically with increasing age.
Diseases often linked with the ageing population like Hypertension or High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, High Blood Cholesterol and Coronary Artery Disease can also act as factors increasing the chances of Alzheimer’s in the ageing individual.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
The brain usually tends to begin shrinking with age. This process is also called Atrophy. Atrophy happens at an accelerated pace in people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a type of loss of memory and forgetfulness.
If you observe the below mentioned ten common signs in any elderly person, consult a doctor immediately.
- Loss of memory that starts disturbing day-to-day life
- Facing difficulty in planning or solving problems
- Trouble finishing familiar work at home
- Mixing and confusing place and time
- Misunderstanding visual images
- Having trouble identifying commonplace objects
- Misplacing things after putting them at odd places and an inability to find them
- Wilful isolation and withdrawal from work and society
- Drastic differences in personality and moods
Prevention against Alzheimer’s
Experts suggest that ageing individuals should begin subjecting their mental faculty with exercises like yoga, dancing and meditation to protect them from Alzheimer’s. Other preventing measures include steps to better the quality of life, like increasing interaction with people, playing board games, reading books, etc. It is also advisable to take a nutritious balanced diet and avoid or at least reduce alcohol consumption. One can even begin mineral and vitamin supplements or the doctor may prescribe specific medicines to protect the ageing patient from Alzheimer’s.
Basically all research points out that adopting different strategy for overall healthy ageing will not only keep the body but also your brain fit. The healthy ageing tips will not only protect from Alzheimer’s but numerous other related conditions.
According to a research by Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute, the onset of Alzheimer’s was either delayed or altogether nullified in elderly who spoke two languages or more. The special ability that people accrue by being able to speak more than two languages equipped them to effectively combat some prominent symptoms of Alzheimer’s like confusion, difficulty with planning and problem solving and memory loss.
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