September is World Alzheimer’s Month. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, and the only cause in the top 10 that cannot be cured. Alzheimer’s is a brain disease, and is the most common form of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. It develops slowly over time and progressively becomes worse. Nearly half of people age 86 and older have the disease. Here are 10 common early signs and symptoms:
1) Memory loss that disrupts daily life
2) Challenges in planning or solving problems
3) Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work, or at leisure
4) Confusion with time or place
5) Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
6) New problems with words in speaking or writing
7) Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
8) Decreased or poor judgment
9) Withdrawal from work or social activities
10) Changes in mood and personality
Not everyone will have all of these symptoms, but if you are experiencing any of them, and are over the age of 65, you should seek medical advice.
The question that remains is if this disease cannot yet be cured, can it be prevented? There have been various studies done on fighting Alzheimer’s in the kitchen! According to a report at the International Conference on Nutrition and the Brain on July 19th 2013, there are various ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease through your diet.
1. Lower your intake of saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fat is found primarily in dairy products, meats, and certain oils (coconut and palm oils). Trans fats are found in many snack pastries and fried foods and are listed on labels as “partially hydrogenated oils.”
2. Vegetables, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), fruits, and whole grains should be key ingredient eaten with all meals.
3. Eating 1 ounce of nuts or seeds (one small handful) every day is a good source of vitamin E.
4. Vitamin B12, should be part of your daily diet either through foods or supplements.
5. When selecting multiple vitamins, choose those without iron and copper, and consume iron supplements only when directed by your physician.
6. While aluminum’s role in Alzheimer’s disease is still being investigated, always try to avoid the use of cookware, antacids, baking powder, or other products that contribute dietary aluminum.
7. Exercise at least 3x a week for 40 minutes.
If you or a family member is concerned about Alzheimer’s, contact Private Physicians Medical Associates for a consultation on preventative care and lifestyle medicine 949-566-8179 or https://privatemds.com.