September is marked as World Alzheimer’s Month.
Though World Alzheimer’s Day is observed on Sept 21 every year, the month-long program was launched in 2012, so that national and local organizations worldwide can do their awareness and promotional activities for a longer period of time.
According to latest statistics, worldwide there are over 46 million Alzheimer’s patients, while India has over 4 million people suffering from some type of dementia; and the number is estimated to rise to 131.5 million by 2050.
Memory loss is the primary symptom of Alzheimer’s, which most people chose to ignore when the first signs are seen.
What follows next are unable to recall names of places, people or events, difficulty in solving basic problems, incapability to understand images, mood swings, withdrawal symptoms, verbal and/or written communication problems, and inability to complete tasks.
Though the disease is irreversible and non-curable, ultimately leading to death, here are a few precautions you can take against Alzheimer’s:
1. Eat one or two apples a day:
University of Massachusetts researchers have found out that apples stimulate production and secretion of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, thereby keeping your brain happy and away from Alzheimer’s.
2. Include berries in your diet:
Berries contain high levels of anthocyanosides which help fight memory loss.
3. Make fish a must on your platter:
Fish contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids which may lead to a cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s. Regular consumption of fish reduces risk of the disease as they contain high levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the most found, long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid in the brain.
4. Folic acid does wonder:
Boost your folic acid level. Either include dark, leafy vegetables that are high in folate in your regular diet or take supplements.
Researchers have found that folic acid may prevent Alzheimer’s by lowering the levels if homocysteine.
5. Drink red wine:
Red wine or purple grape juice is an effective way to prevent Alzheimer’s. This is because grape skin protects the brain from the oxidative stress and beta amyloid, thereby keeping it healthy.
6. Keep your blood pressure levels in check:
Hypertension causes inflammation of brain cells and affects healthy blood circulation in the brain. This makes one vulnerable to Alzheimer’s.
7. Work our regularly:
Research has found that at least 150 minutes of moderate exercising per week, including walking and swimming, helps your heart to pump blood properly to your brain, along with other parts of the body, thereby keeping your overall health in good condition.
8. Exercise your brain:
Like the rest of your body, your brain also needs exercise and stimulation.
Don’t keep your brain idle – learn a new language or a musical instrument, read a good book, watch a fun movie, play games [try memory games], solve puzzles – keep your brain too busy to be diseased.
9. Give your brain its required rest:
Make sure your brain gets enough rest. A peaceful night’s sleep is the key to a healthy life. Go to bed on time, clean off the frowns with soothing music or a relaxing tale. Daytime naps are also great brain-rechargers.
10. De-stress yourself from time-to-time:
In today’s world, it’s not possible to avoid stress. But you have to carry the yardstick – how much and how far you should carry your stress.
Taking too much stress shrinks the hippocampus, a key area for memory in the brain, and increases the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Whenever you feel the stress, try restorative breathing. Remember, having fun is as important as work. Take out at least an hour every day to do whatever you feel like – that will be your key de-stresser.
[Sources: Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), World Alzheimer’s Month, Daily Express, Alzheimers in India, The Huffington Post India, Prevention]
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.