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Category: Alzheimer’s Disease

My Brother, My Friend

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Not Everyone is as Blessed as I am When it Comes to Brothers 

I have a big brother, who is not only my sibling but also a true friend.  The last couple of days we’ve been spent with our mother, who was paying a visit to the hospital.  We had moments of worry, a lot of laughter, but mainly, we shared in this responsibility as a team.  I’m so thankful that I’m not alone when it comes to caring for our aging Mother.  She has set a strong example for us, but sadly, Alzheimer’s is slowly taking her away from us.

 

A Not-so-Happy Glimpse of the Future

During Mom’s hospital visit, we saw a side of her that we’ve only had glimpses of thus far.  Between the anesthesia and pain medication, she seemed as if she had progressed quickly with new Alzheimer’s symptoms.  My brother and I tried to find humor in this situation because we knew it was only temporary.  But truth be told, it was very scary to know that one day this behavior could be the norm for Mom.  We witnessed it with our grandmother and dread the day that we have to see our mom go through the same mental decline.

It’s also difficult to think that one day we could also be facing the same diagnosis for ourselves.  I remember the day that Mom was diagnosed.  There were tears from both of us. Mostly, she dreaded the day that she wouldn’t recognize her children.  That was a sobering thought.  I hope and pray that the fate of Alzheimer’s never becomes a reality for either my brother or myself.

Fight the Good Fight

Discover the Alzheimer’s Prevention Diet

One of the best ways you can feed your brain for better memory is by avoiding a diet high in trans-fat and saturated fat. These fats, such as those from animal products (especially red meats), can cause inflammation as well as produce free radicals. As you probably know, free radicals are a normal by-product of your metabolism, but in high quantities, they can damage and even kill your valuable brain cells.

Eating foods that are high in antioxidants like vitamins C and E is a wonderful natural way to eliminate free radicals from your body. In a similar way, scientists believe that a vast intake of fruits and vegetables, eating fish rich in omega-3 oils and vegetarian protein substitutes (such as soy) are protective against memory loss.

The ideal prevention diet breaks down like this:

  • 20% “good” fats. Items in this group include extra virgin olive oil, avocado, and flax seed oil
  • 40% lean proteins. Look to include fish, chicken, turkey, and soy on a daily basis.
  • 40% complex carbohydrates. Discover the rewards of a rainbow of fresh vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fresh fruits.
  • Superfoods for the brain – as much as you want! These superfoods, including blueberries, spinach, and seaweed. The items have fabulous antioxidant properties preventing causes of Alzheimer’s.


The Healing Power of Relaxation and Meditation

Meditation reduces stress, which lowers cortisol and improves many other aspects of your mental function. Of course, stress management has many other positive benefits as well, such as improved performance, heart function, reduced anxiety, less chronic pain, and even increased longevity.

Balancing your daily stress is a vital part of any Alzheimer’s prevention strategy. Studies have shown there is a high correlation between having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and/or high cortisol and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Stress has been shown to be a key factor in all of these conditions.

Thankfully, research has shown that the benefits of regular stress-relaxation practice, such as meditation, can improve your health and prevent memory loss. And, as it reduces some of the negative impacts of cholesterol, cortisol, and high blood pressure, a stress relaxation practice also has the added benefits of improving your focus, attention, and optimizing your overall mental performance.

Some examples of stress-management techniques include:     

  • Meditation
  • Guided Imagery and Visualization
  • Hypnosis
  • Deep Breathing
  • Massage
  • Prayer

Trust me — it is not necessary to lock yourself into any of one of these stress relaxation techniques. Rather, it’s best to feel free to explore any or all of them to see which technique works best for you. Simply start with any of these techniques for a few minutes a day and you’ll quickly begin to experience better brain function. Then, find the techniques you tend to enjoy the very most and you’ll begin experiencing a whole new and improved — and less stressed — you!

Exercise & Brain Aerobics

The Importance of Physical Exercise

Exercise & Brain Aerobics 

Did you know that regular physical exercise can reduce your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to a stunning 50%? Moreover, studies have shown that women from age 40 to 60 who exercised regularly were seen to have a dramatic reduction in memory loss and cognitive decline. That’s right: They kept their brain power at optimal strength! More recent findings suggest that an overall active lifestyle is the key to brain and body health.

To see the best benefits of your exercise program, the latest research reveals that the magic number for maintaining cognitive fitness with age and preventing Alzheimer’s is to work up to a level of 150 minutes per week of a combination of cardio exercise and strength training. Great ways to get in your aerobic exercise include brisk walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, and playing tennis, or going to the gym and utilizing an elliptical, treadmill or stationary bike.

Anything that gets your heart pumping and your muscles moving is heading you in the right direction to better overall health. Plus when you include strength training (e.g., weights, resistance machines, isometrics, etc.), you maintain your muscle mass and prevent osteoporosis and related illness.

Keep reading to discover how you can work out your brain to keep it in the same good shape as your renewed body, in your goal to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Benefiting from Brain Aerobics

Neurologists report that mental exercise can reduce your chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 70%. With numbers like that, it’s amazing that everyone isn’t exercising their brains more often. Get a head start by spending at least 20 minutes, three times a week doing mental exercises.

Don’t know what brain aerobics are? It’s simple. Whenever you challenge your brain with novel tasks (anything new or different), you’re exercising your brain and improving brain function. In order for an activity to be considered brain aerobics, three conditions must be met. The activity needs to:

Mind Games generously donated by Cranium Crunches

  • Engage your attention.
  • Involve more than one of your senses.
  • Break a routine activity in an unexpected, nontrivial way.

Some examples of fantastic, brain-building mental exercises include reading, writing, playing board games, and doing crossword puzzles.

Mind Games

Distraction and competing bits of information often make picking out what is important in a situation complicated. The best way to hone those skills is to practice in situations that replicate real life.

 

Although Alzheimer’s is a horrible problem for so many, we can practice prevention and hope for a cure one day.  I’m grateful for scientists and physicians that work diligently to put an end to this illness.  I’m also thankful that as more and more is learned about Alzheimers, we can put practices into place to combat the onset and progression.

Have you known a relative or friend who has dealt with a family member or friend who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease?  I’d love to know how they coped.  Please leave a comment below and let’s share information about the trials and triumphs associated with this illness.

 

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