Dementia Prevention

I have read several articles this week about Dementia and Alzheimer’s.  I admit that the two are confusing to me.  Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include memory loss and confusion.  And Alzheimer’s is a form of Dementia that can start as early as 45 years of age.  With Dementia you gradually lose intellectual function and it usually occurs past 70 years old.

According to the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Resource:  Another way to compare dementia vs. Alzheimer’s disease is to realize that dementia is a medical term used to describe a number of conditions characterized by the gradual loss of intellectual function. Certain symptoms, as defined by the American Medical Association, of dementia include memory impairment, increased language difficulties, decreased motor skills, failure to recognized or identify objects, and disturbance of the ability to plan or think abstractly.

There are meds that help with memory issues but none that will stop the disease. Prevention ranges from exercise to natural supplements and even green tea.

The USA Today this week stated that three studies have shown exercise, green tea and vitamin D levels may help prevent dementia. Study results include:

1- people with moderate to heavy levels of physical activity had a 40% lower risk of getting dementia at all
2- people with lowest amount of physical activity were 45% more likely to get dementia
3- tea drinkers of one to four glasses per week had 37% lower mental decline than non-tea drinkers
4- cognitive impairment in people deficient in vitamin D was 42% higher and 394% higher when people were severely deficient (there is currently a high rate of people deficient in vitamin D in the U.S.)

The good news is that there are a lot of studies that show lifestyle and preventive choices can make a significant impact on disease prevention.

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