June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month
June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. This month join the Alzheimer’s Association® to help raise awareness of this devastating disease. You can start by learning 10 Ways to Love your Brain and 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
(from Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report)
- More than 6 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s dementia
- By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million.
- Alzheimer’s Disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the US.
- Barring the development of medical breakthroughs, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s dementia may nearly triple from 5.6 million to 13.8 million by 2050.
- Two-thirds of Americans over age 65 with Alzheimer’s dementia (3.5 million) are women.
- As the population of the U.S. ages, Alzheimer’s is becoming a more common cause of death.
According to Alzheimer’s Association growing evidence supports that people can decrease their risk of cognitive decline by making key lifestyle changes. Incorporate these 10 healthy habits to achieve maximum benefit for the brain and body.
10 Tips to Love Your Brain
- Break a sweat: Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.
- Hit the books: Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online.
- Butt out: Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.
- Follow your heart: Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke – obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes – negatively impact your cognitive health. Take care of your heart, and your brain just might follow.
- Heads up: Brain injury can raise risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seat belt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls.
Click here for more on Brain Injury
- Fuel up right: Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Although research on diet and cognitive function is limited, certain diets, including Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), may contribute to risk reduction.
Click here for our Brain Healthy Recipes
- Catch some ZZZ’s: Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking.
Need help Sleeping? See our Brain Healthy Products for Sleep Issues
- Take care of your mental health: Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns. Also, try to manage stress.
Brain Healthy Products for Depression
Brain Healthy Products for Anxiety
- Stump yourself: Challenge and activate your mind. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that make you think strategically. Challenging your mind may have short- and long-term benefits for your brain.
- Buddy up: Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. Find ways to be part of your local community – if you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. If you enjoy singing, join a local choir or help at an afterschool program. Or, just share activities with friends and family.
10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life: One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in the early stage, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same questions over and over, and increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.
What’s a typical age-related change? Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems: Some people living with dementia may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
What’s a typical age-related change? Making occasional errors when managing finances or household bills.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks: People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes they may have trouble driving to a familiar location, organizing a grocery list or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
What’s a typical age-related change? Occasionally needing help to use microwave settings or to record a TV show.
- Confusion with time or place: People living with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
What’s a typical age-related change? Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships: For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. This may lead to difficulty with balance or trouble reading. They may also have problems judging distance and determining color or contrast, causing issues with driving.
What’s a typical age-related change? Vision changes related to cataracts.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing: People living with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have trouble naming a familiar object or use the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”).
What’s a typical age-related change? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps: A person living with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. He or she may accuse others of stealing, especially as the disease progresses.
What’s a typical age-related change? Misplacing things from time to time and retracing steps to find them.
- Decreased or poor judgment: Individuals may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money or pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
What’s a typical age-related change? Making a bad decision or mistake once in a while, like forgetting to change the oil in the car.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities: A person living with Alzheimer’s disease may experience changes in the ability to hold or follow a conversation. As a result, he or she may withdraw from hobbies, social activities or other engagements. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite team or activity.
What’s a typical age-related change? Sometimes feeling uninterested in family or social obligations.
- Changes in mood and personality: Individuals living with Alzheimer’s may experience mood and personality changes. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, with friends or when out of their comfort zone.
What’s a typical age-related change? Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is
What to do if you notice these signs?
If you notice any of the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s in yourself or someone you know, don’t ignore them. Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can. Early detection improves the chances of benefiting from treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms. This can help maintain a level of independence longer, and improve chances of participating in clinical drug trials that help advance research.
Purple is the official color of the Alzheimer’s movement. The color purple has been chosen to help raise Alzheimer’s awareness as The Alzheimer’s Association encourages people to turn their social media profiles purple and wear purple throughout the month to show your support for people fighting the disease and their caregivers.
Brain Health and Brain Fitness
The best way to treat Alzheimer’s is to prevent the disease in the first place. Exercise, eating right, restorative sleep, and stress management are all great ways to potentially prevent Alzheimer’s and practice self-care.
Brain Fitness Training with Dr. Diane® is more than just memory games. Dr. Diane®, a neuropsychologist and board certified health psychologist, and her integrative team of brain health experts offer a complete, concise, and personalized program of brain health based on Dr. Diane®’s 5 Prong Approach. This approach to Brain Fitness provides you with customized brain training for optimal brain function at peak performance.