Dementia is a condition that many old people have. Have you not wondered what your own fate will be when you grow old especially if you know of a close relative who is affected by the condition? How do you avoid it?
To answer this question, it is first of all, important to understand the condition. Dementia is characterized by a deterioration in brain function. It is a decline in cognitive areas of the brain. It is almost always due to Alzheimer’s disease (for people over age 65) or due to cerebro vascular disease including stroke.
In Alzheimer’s Disease, almost all brain functions, including memory, movement, language, judgment, behavior, and abstract thinking, are eventually affected. Manifestations include progressive memory loss and amnesia to the point that they no longer recognize even their loved one, language deficits, inability to perform skilled movements, disorientation and confusion, agitation, paranoia, depression and sudden outburst or embarrassing behavior. The condition is associated with amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles ( neurotic plaques, tangled neurons, neuronal loss).
Vascular Dementia on the other hand are caused by brain damage from cerebrovascular or cardiovascular problems (strokes) or other problems that inhibit vascular function. They exhibit similar manifestations to Alzheimer’s Disease but personality and emotions are affected only late in the disease.
So what is your chances of getting dementia? It is important to know the risks of the disease. Medical literature cites 5 major risks as follows: age, sex, family history, and Down’s Syndrome and low educational attainment.
Age is a risk factor although not all old people develop dementia. According to NCBI, dementia incidence continues to increase with age in the oldest old: the 90+. On the other hand, the Alzheimer’s Society reported that more and more cases are reported to have it before age 65.
Gender is also said to be a risk factor. Several studies suggested that women are at higher risk of dementia than men. The Ruitenberg study found that after 90 years of age the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is higher for women than for men while the incidence of vascular dementia is higher for men than for women in all age groups.
Family history is also a risk factor. For certain types of Alzheimer’s disease, such as the Huntington’s disease, is hereditary. In this case, it is an ‘autosomal dominant’ disease wherein having one faulty copy of the gene makes you inherit the disease. But this kind is rare. Most cases of alzheimer’s disease are not passed on to children.
Studies also showed that there is higher prevalence of Alzheimer’s in people with Down syndrome. Results of studies showed that more than 75 percent of those with Down syndrome aged 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease, nearly 6 times the percentage of people in this age group who do not have Down syndrome. Down syndrome is a condition in which a person is born with extra copy of chromosome 21, one of the 23 human chromosomes. Most people with Down syndrome have three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the usual two.
According to Medscape, low education level independently increases dementia risk regardless of other potential contributors, including demographic, socioeconomic, and vascular factors. Results of study showed that, compared with individuals with the lowest levels of education, highly educated individuals had an 80% lower dementia risk. They inferred that highly educated people may have a greater cognitive reserve, which is the brain’s ability to maintain function in spite of damage, making it easier to postpone the negative effects of dementia. In addition, unhealthy lifestyles may independently contribute to the depletion of this reserve,” Dr. Ngandu added. The study is published in the October 2 issue of Neurology.
Examining the above risk factors, do you fall under any of them?
If your risk factor is hereditary and it is the kind that is inevitable, the best thing you can do is to mitigate the factors that could trigger it. Keeping the body and brain healthy with the right food and exercise is very important. Supplementation with Vitamin E and Endymion Carnosine are also said to slow cognitive decline.
Since most kinds of dementia is acquired or developed, keeping watch of one’s cholesterol and preventing stroke is a very important precaution against the disease. Having blocked arteries in the brain result in a recurring loss of blood supply to the brain. This results in the deterioration of the brain that occurs gradually in stages.
Keeping your arteries clean from obstruction also helps avoid the disease. Ethozyme is a combination of special enzymes and nutrients that gradually dissolve plaque build up on the artery walls, it repairs small cracks and fissures, it helps remove fibrous and fatty deposits and generally improves blood circulation. It can clear most artery related conditions, dramatically reduce your risk of heart attack and/or stroke but without any side effects.
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