Monday, November 11, 2019

How to Prevent Alzheimer's Disease and How to Deal with Alzheimer's Patients

Some lifestyle choices, such as physical activity, healthy eating, sound sleep and avoiding smoking and alcohol, can help support brain health and prevent Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers face difficult challenges in caring for patients, but understanding Alzheimer's patients' behavior changes can help reduce these difficulties. In this article, we will discuss how to prevent Alzheimer's disease naturally and how to deal with Alzheimer's patients?


Alzheimer's disease
How to Prevent Alzheimer's Disease and How to Deal with Alzheimer's Patients?

How can Alzheimer's Disease be Prevented?



Alzheimer's Disease (AD)

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia in the elderly. Dementia is a brain disease that severely affects a person's ability to perform normal daily activities. Alzheimer's disease is related to nerves and occurs gradually, which leads to a decline in the memory of the individual, in addition to a decrease in his ability to judge, perceive, and learn, and ultimately affect his ability to work. Alzheimer's disease is a major burden for people with Alzheimer's and their families because it affects a person's mood, thinking, and behavior, as well as changes in their overall personality and behavior. Alzheimer's symptoms may usually begin to appear after the age of 60 and the risk of developing it increases with age. The number of people with Alzheimer's is doubling almost every five years after reaching the age of 65. It should be noted that younger people may also develop Alzheimer's disease, but it is not usually common at a young age.


Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease occurs gradually. The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease worsen over time. Alzheimer's disease is divided into seven stages:
Stage 1: There are no symptoms at this stage, but early diagnosis may be made based on the family history of the disease.
Stage 2:  In this stage,  early-onset symptoms such as forgetfulness begin.
Stage 3: Mild physical and mental problems, such as a decrease in memory and concentration, appear at this stage and maybe observed only by someone very close to the patient.
Stage 4: Alzheimer's is often diagnosed at this stage, but the disease is still mild, and amnesia and the inability to perform everyday tasks are obvious.
Stage 5: Symptoms that appear at this stage require help from close people.
Stage 6: At this stage, people with Alzheimer's may need help with basic tasks, such as eating and dressing.
Stage 7: This is the most severe and final stage of Alzheimer's disease. At this stage, the patient needs permanent and full care in all aspects of his life.  In the final stage of Alzheimer's disease, death may occur as a result of pneumonia or any other problem that may result in deteriorating health conditions.



How to Prevent Alzheimer's Disease Naturally

Brain-related changes associated with Alzheimer's disease begin early in the 30s or 40s, but research has opened several key strategies that enhance the power of the mind. Research says you can improve your brain power no matter your age, making it stronger, and can provide long-term protection. While surveys found that most people consider Alzheimer's disease a normal part of aging, scientists say the opposite.
Although you can't control aging or genetic factors, simple steps can be taken to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. In fact, the same steps that can benefit the heart, such as resting your body, may help reduce the chance of Alzheimer's disease. There are many simple things you can do on a daily basis that help reduce Alzheimer's disease. The most important strategies to prevent Alzheimer's disease include:

1. Eat Healthy Food Everyday
There is no single food that prevents or cures cognitive impairment, but a healthy eating pattern enhances mental abilities. Eating the following healthy foods can prevent Alzheimer's disease and support brain health:
- Berries rich in antioxidants.
- Vegetables, especially leafy vegetables.
- Fish because it contains omega-3 fatty acids (which make it easier for neurons in the brain to communicate with each other).
- Whole grains.

2. Avoid Smoking and Alcohol
Excessive smoking in middle age increases the risk of both Alzheimer's and vascular dementia in men and women of different ethnic groups. Smoking also causes cancer and heart disease. The new findings show that it threatens public health in later life when people are already more likely to develop dementia. The study found that people who smoked more than two packs of cigarettes a day were at higher risk for both Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. It is advisable to stay away from all available forms of tobacco and alcohol.

3. Get Enough Sleep
Closing eyes at bedtime cleans some harmful wastes and toxins, which may be the precursor of amyloid proteins in the brain. A study has proven the importance of sleep in expelling toxins from the brain. Sleep deprivation at night also slows thinking and affects mood, so this may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. You should reorganize your sleep, and you must create the right atmosphere for a good sleep, such as staying away from digital screens for at least half an hour to an hour before bed. The blue light emitted reduces the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone that rises in your body at night. Set the alarm to your sleep schedule, and prioritize sleep by making room for it on your schedule.

4. Run, Walk and Play Every Day
Keeping your body in constant motion helps your brain remove a protein called amyloid, which is thought to accumulate and store in the brains of people with Alzheimer's. There is no drug available to reduce amyloid, and the only thing that can reduce it is exercise. Studies found that active people had a 35% lower risk than those who did not move or exercise. Studies showed that people who were more fit had stronger brain abilities after 25 years. So you can devote at least 20 to 30 minutes on most days of the week for exercise because an even short period of exercise makes the brain healthier and increases blood flow to the brain. Although it is not yet entirely clear, stimulating the brain and thought can be a brain exercise, so people who maintain learning and social activism are the least likely to develop Alzheimer's.

5. Control Extra Weight Gain
If you have too much extra weight to lose, it is advisable to start working on losing that extra weight in order to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's in the future. One study found that obesity can alter the brain in a way that increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease. It is also recommended to maintain weight, and this is a heart-friendly diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free protein, especially protein sources containing omega-3 fatty acids. Eat low-fat dairy products, in addition to reducing the intake of saturated fats, which are found in meat and in full-fat dairy products, reducing sugars, carbohydrates, and sodium.

6. Challenge Your Mind
One of the most vigorously researched ways to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's is to challenge your mind to become more flexible. This does not mean solving crosswords, but you have to do new things to work constantly on different parts of your mind in order to build links between them. When you want to remember a name for example, and your brain hits a barrier of inactive neurons, you won't remember anything, but if there are conversions available, your brain will try to find the name. You can build those conversions in your mind by thinking about things in new and deeper ways. Read a new novel or learn to cook, because that requires thinking and attention. Diversity in activities and challenging the mind helps build a healthier mind. Ironically, one of the best ways to think more deeply is to spend time thinking about it at all. When you meditate without thinking about anything, this will soothe some mental noise that prevents deep thinking. You'll leave what you do and put your phone aside so you can filter your mind.

7. Prevent Chronic Diseases
Continuous tests to monitor blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels are essential, as many people may develop these diseases without their knowledge. A lot of research has indicated a strong relationship between Alzheimer's disease and some diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, so it is recommended to monitor these diseases on an ongoing basis.




How to Deal with Alzheimer's Patients

Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers face difficult challenges in caring for patients but understanding the behavioral changes of Alzheimer's patients can help alleviate these difficulties by following certain coping strategies. It should be noted that Alzheimer's patients face serious anxiety about their daily lives, which can drive the patient to ask questions frequently about events that happened or people they know. Alzheimer's patients can show indifference and lack of initiative to perform tasks that were considered routine for him. He may suffer from a nervous condition because of the inability to interpret and absorb the environment around him, or to express his feelings. The following strategies help a caregiver deal with an Alzheimer's patient:

1. Remember That Behind Every Behavior is a Goal
Many experts believe that some of the behavioral symptoms of an Alzheimer's patient, such as screaming, are meaningful. Although the patient does not intentionally annoy or injure others, he wants someone to notice him and meet his needs. Therefore, it is important for the caregiver to remember that although there is significance behind these behaviors, the patient does not intentionally do that, but tries to communicate a message through his behaviors. The caregivers should also try to calmly understand what the patient wants and respond to his feelings instead of responding to the behavior itself.

2. Deal with Changes in Communication
An Alzheimer's patient may not be able to explain to the caregiver why he or she feels anxious and depressed. Therefore, the provider should be clear and specific while communicating with the patient and repeat what is said more than once using the same words. It is best to stay away from any noise or distracting factors while communicating with him and not to use words like he or she, but to use the names of people or specific terms. Avoid getting frustrated, keep communication short, simple and clear, use closed-ended questions that can be answered "yes" or "no", use techniques to attract and retain the attention of your loved one, tell your loved one who you are if there seems to be any doubt and find a different way and different strategies to say the same thing if it is not understood. 

3. Talk about Past Memories
The caregiver should talk to the patient about his past memories and familiar people or places and remember the pleasant feelings he experienced with the patient. This is because memories of the distant past are usually not affected by the fact that watching videos of the family, pictures of travel in the past can allow the patient to continue to express his feelings. It is also preferable for the caregiver to allow the patient to share the history of what he remembers from family, grandchildren, or friends, helping the patient to feel connected to the people he loves.

4. Ensure Patient Safety
Patient safety is very important. As the disease progresses, the patient's memory and ability to control becomes weak and cannot predict or avoid any serious situations. Different head injuries can increase the likelihood of Alzheimer's disease, such as car accidents or falling from the bike even after several years. In order to protect the head from these injuries, it is advisable to pay attention to the places where the house may fall on the head, such as carpets that are not stuck in the ground, which may lead to slipping. All of this is a tremendous responsibility for the caregiver and requires creative coping strategies. It should include increasing the level of monitoring and control of the patient's environment by reducing his exposure to dangerous situations making him feel more self-reliant, and safer.

4. Provide Flexibility Without Losing Accountability
Alzheimer's is a progressive disease and its symptoms and needs will change over time, so strategies for observations may be no longer effective. This is because any successful aid at one stage of the disease can become frustrating and catastrophic at another. The caregiver should seek to help and learn from others who have had the same experience. It should be borne in mind that there are more challenging behavioral symptoms that can be difficult for the caregiver to deal with, such as patient resistance to care. In this case, it is advisable to consult a doctor about treatments, whether pharmacological or non-pharmacological.



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