There are plenty of reasons Alzheimer’s disease can be so devastating to residents of Anamosa and elsewhere, but a significant one is that there’s currently no cure.
Research is continuing into all of the disease’s stages, from early signs to final symptoms that may require hospice care, but any sort of wide-scale fix or reversal still hasn’t been announced yet.
However, the team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care will be happy to discuss a variety of strategies and current studies which may allow patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias to spend more time with their families and keep advanced symptoms from moving in as quickly.
Every diagnosis is different, which means, for all individuals, the progression of the disease has a different timeline.
For some, the various stages may be reached quickly, but for others, there may be periods of several years where progress goes much more slowly.
Exactly what causes such wide difference in some is still being examined, but research is leaning toward physical factors like certain diets and more exercise, along with extra mental effort like looking for new ways to keep your brain active. Both of these mental and physical strategies seem able to delay the onset of the advancement of some Alzheimer’s symptoms or generally slow its progression down entirely.
Reader’s Digest recently came up with a list of 15 key items that can delay Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.
Leading the list is more exercise, which can improve blood flow and oxygen flow to all of the body, but especially the brain. Because much of the deterioration of Alzheimer’s disease is caused by starved or damaged brain cells, more effort to get more blood to them can reduce inflammation. In some cases, it can also stimulate the growth of new brain cells, which also can help memory and function as older cells begin to die.
How much exercise is the right amount depends on the individual and their current fitness level, but most health experts agree that intense exercise for at least 30 minutes at least three times a week can beneficial.
This is good advice, not just for those fighting Alzheimer’s disease but for general upkeep for any age.
Study after study has shown that regular physical activity reduces obesity, improves mood and blood flow, and cuts down on risks for other negative health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Certainly, those battling Alzheimer’s disease are also susceptible to these conditions as well.
Exercise also may be as simple as a long walk with a family member or caregiver, swimming or supervised activity at a local gym or senior center.
Even people who don’t have Alzheimer’s disease but may have the genetic risk should consider adding or increasing their activity. Not only can this potentially help any symptoms from showing up or at least take longer to manifest, it can help teach good habits and establish positive routines that can be helpful later in life.
The same article also suggested “more sleep” as another important factor, as this can help the body feel better and also help maintain and repair the body’s cells during the sleep cycle. Deeper sleep, which comes at least four hours without interruptions, can be the most beneficial. Six to eight hours regularly is the most optimal.
What you eat is important
‘Superfoods’ which offer a variety of benefits beyond basic nutrition, are seen as especially useful to the mental and physical processes of slowing down the advances of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms.
For instance, certain vegetables, fruits, nuts, and even types of dark chocolate are all in this category. Some contain extra amounts of antioxidants that reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease or other diseases, and generally improve blood flow or organ function.
Some natural compounds in foods can boost other parts of the body including more glucose to the brain, something that is sometimes blocked or limited in Alzheimer’s disease.
Other research is looking into the role of other foods and beverages in overall health.
One item that has attracted attention is coffee. This popular beverage has a spotty record, health-wise. Some studies show that it can do great things for heart and brain health, but others show that it doesn’t do much or even can be detrimental.
A Canadian study concluded that coffee can help slow down the formation of two protein fragments which are commonly seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The study looked at whether different types of coffee could have a factor in this, including light roast, dark roast, and decaffeinated dark roast.
Initial testing showed that the amount of caffeine didn’t seem to be a factor so they looked at compounds that emerge in the bean roasting process. Dark roasted beans seem to have more of a role in inhibiting the ‘clumping’ of the protein fragments. Although researchers didn’t want to definitely say that coffee cures Alzheimer’s, they can say that more research into the roles of the proteins could yield interesting results.
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care is happy to offer various suggestions to patients and their families about ways to boost their physical and mental efforts to hopefully resist the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.