10 Hidden Signs of Alzheimer’s That Everyone Ignores (And How to Prevent It)
There are many signs of Alzheimer’s which we ignore because we don’t know about them. It develops at a slow rate and we may never know about it. According to National Family Caregiver Alliance’s (NFCA) Deborah Halpern, this disease develops too slowly for us to notice it. It is something you can compare Alzheimer’s development to what Carl Sandberg calls in his poem – “comes on little cat feet.”
Unfortunately, we are least likely to differentiate it from the normal age-based changes taking place in our body. The key is to already know the signs so that you can distinguish between dementia and normal process of aging. It is normal for us to lose our keys. But if you have dementia, when you find your keys you will not know what to do with them.
Signs of Alzheimer’s That Everyone Ignores
If you notice the following signs, there’s good chance that you are suffering from Alzheimer’s:
- Loss of Memory – You may not have to worry if you forget names once in a while. But if you are forgetting names more often and progressively, it is a warning sign of Alzheimer’s.
- Difficulty with Words – It is normal to find it difficult to come across the right words at times. But if you have Alzheimer’s, you will increasingly start losing words. In fact, people can start finding it difficult to understand what you want to say.
- Familiar Tasks – We all forget at times why we entered a room. It is normal. But those suffering from Alzheimer’s can even forget how to button their shirt.
- Abnormal Social Behavior – A once in a while faux pas is normal. But if you start leaving your home in underwear or forget bathing regularly, you should see your doctor.
- Disoriented – We all are likely to be disoriented when we enter new surroundings. But those with Alzheimer’s are more likely to be lost even in familiar neighborhoods.
- Misplacing Things More Often – If you place your keys in the refrigerator or some other unusual place, it’s not like a normal misplace.
- Reasoning Issues – It is difficult at times to balance your checkbook. But if you have Alzheimer’s, you could forget entirely what checks are meant for.
- Frequent Mood Swings – It is not abnormal to have your mood change once or twice a day. But those with Alzheimer’s can suffer from continuous mood swings. They are calm now and full of rage the very next moment and without any reason.
- Passive – It is normal to feel emotional when watching the TV. But those suffering from Alzheimer’s are excessively passive. They may even stop doing things they have always enjoyed doing.
- Significant Changes in Personality – We all change with time. But we still hold onto many of our traits which are easy to recognize. But those suffering from Alzheimer’s can change altogether.
What are the Risk Factors & How to Prevent?
There are some risk factors that you cannot do anything about. They include your age, history of Alzheimer’s in the family, and even genetic factors. but studies show that it is best to do exercises that stimulate your mind. According to Dr. Maria Carrillo [Director – Medical & Scientific Relations at Alzheimer’s Association (PhD)], it is important that you stimulate your mind. But she gives more information to add to our knowledge – there is critical relation between our brain and heart health.
According to Dr. Maria, this point has not been properly publicized. Anything that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease (like stroke and heart disease), also increases the chances of Alzheimer’s. The opposite is also true according to latest research. So what are the most important factors that worsen our heart and brain health?
- Smoking – After studying almost 6,900 people of age 55 and above for 24 months, Dutch researchers have come to the following conclusion – Smokers have double the chance of developing Alzheimer’s compared to nonsmokers.
- High Levels of Cholesterol – When researchers in Scandinavia studied 1,449 people for more than 21 years, they made the following discovery – higher cholesterol levels in midlife increased the chances of Alzheimer’s in later life.
- High Blood Pressure – Similar study in Scandinavia found that those with higher blood pressure in midlife were twice as likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s when they aged.
- Diabetes – Researchers in Sweden studied and tested cognitive function of over 1,300 aged people over 6 years. They found that presence of diabetes had a significant impact on Alzheimer’s risk.
- Obesity – Another study in Scandinavia showed that the presence of obesity in midlife increased the chances of Alzheimer’s in later life by two times.
- Exercise – This is not a risk factor, but something that can help reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s. According to a study in Scandinavia, exercise or any kind of physical activity two times a week can have a big impact on reducing Alzheimer’s risk.
- Animal Fat – According to a study in Scandinavia, those who took diets rich in saturated fat are two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
- Alcohol – Researchers at the University of Columbia studied almost 1,000 people of 65 and above for 4 years. They found that those who took 3 or less glasses of wine daily significantly reduced the chances of Alzheimer’s.
- Mediterranean Diet – This diet contains high amount of fruits and veggies and less of saturated fats, especially compared to American diet. Researchers at University of Columbia compared the diet of over 2,000 people (including those suffering from Alzheimer’s) and found that those who took Mediterranean diet were at very small risk of developing the disease.
- Dietary Antioxidants – In a 6-year study covering almost 5,300 people (of 55 and above) in Holland, researchers found that taking high levels of vitamin C and vitamin E helped in reducing the chances of Alzheimer’s.
- Antioxidant Supplementation – In another 5-year study covering more than 4,700 elderly in Utah, researchers at Johns Hopkins found that those who took vitamin C and vitamin E supplementation reduced their risk of Alzheimer’s. Make sure that your antioxidants have dietary origins.
Alzheimer’s & Alternative Remedies
Once you have developed Alzheimer’s, there is no treatment that can help reversing it. But there are several studies that indicate that alternative remedies and pharmaceuticals can help in slowing down the process of cognitive decline.
They can also help in treating and reducing the agitation and aggressive behavior suffered by patients. Some of these alternative therapies are as following:
- Ginkgo – A popular study conducted a decade ago showed that the use of 120mg of ginkgo a day helped in slowing mental decline in those suffering from Alzheimer’s. There have been several studies since then that confirmed the findings. Mark Blumenthal is Executive Director at American Botanical Council (Austin, TX). The Council is the leading organization in the US in herbal education. According to him, one of these studies also showed how ginkgo helped in slowing down cognitive decline and conventional pharmaceutical based treatment.
- Huperzine-A – This is an extract sourced from Chinese moss. It works almost like ginkgo on the brain. According to studies by the Chinese, it also helps in slowing down cognitive decline in those suffering from Alzheimer’s.
- Aromatherapy – Researchers in the UK added lavender oil or placebo in one of the hospital units for Alzheimer’s patients. Those suffering from agitation started behaving more calmly. In another similar study in the UK, lemon balm oil gave similar results.
- Coenzyme Q10 – Coenzyme Q10 is similar to vitamins and is a powerful antioxidant. Initial research shows that it could be helpful in treating Alzheimer’s.
- Acupuncture – Researchers in China used acupuncture for treating Alzheimer’s patients. When they were passed through a hundred sessions, there was significant improvement in their cognitive abilities.
- Massage – According to research, massage can also help in soothing those Alzheimer’s patients who suffer from agitation.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Researchers at Tufts studied almost 900 people (average age of 76) with normal cognitive abilities for 9 years. They found that those who sourced most of their omega-3 fatty acids from fish and supplementation were 39% less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s. In another study, those already suffering from the disease gained certain cognitive benefits when they took 3 g omega-3 supplements a day.
Source: Just Naturally Healthy