This is a topic that is close to my heart. I am the child of a parent with Alzheimer’s disease. I have witnessed my mother declining into the abyss of this disease for the last ten years.
Every 66 seconds in the United States of America, somebody develops Alzheimer’s disease and two-thirds of those are women. Once women develop mild cognitive impairment, their cognitive decline is two-thirds faster than men.
Alzheimer’s is a disease. It falls under the umbrella of Dementia as well as a couple of other diseases that affects the mind and the body. Alzheimer’s is not irreversible. It’s a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and eventually, your ability to carry out, just the simplest of tasks.
Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 70% of Dementia. And to be clear dementia is a group of symptoms that affects the mental cognitive task such as memory and reasoning. Dementia is not a disease.
No one knows why this disease so disproportionately affects women, but what is known is there are things you can do NOW to take better care of the health of your mind and body
Here are NINE ACTIONS you can start right now. It doesn’t matter your age; you can be 33 or 66. Incorporate these actions into your life to live at your best.
GET PHYSICAL YOU have to move and the greatest thing about this is all you have to do is walk daily. Moving is free and accessible to you at all times. You can do it wherever you are. No excuses.
MENTALLY CHALLENGE YOURSELF You must keep your mind active. Read. Take classes. Go to a community college. Take up art. Learn to dance or continue your love of dancing. Do things that are constantly stimulating your mind. Choose something you have never done before. The jury is out on whether card games, jigsaw or crossword puzzles make a difference to the overall cognition or memory of your brain. But you get the idea. Never stop learning and challenging your mind!
QUIT SMOKING for those of you still smoking. I’m not going to say anything else about that, JUST DO IT!
EAT CLEAN Get rid of the processed foods, too much sugar and salt. Do not drink soft drinks. Clean up your diet. Keep it simple.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP It is not true that you need less sleep as you age. As an adult we should be getting our eight hours of sleep a night. Develop a regular schedule with a bedtime routine. Keep your bedroom dark and noise-free— avoid watching television or surfing the Internet while in bed. Stay away from caffeine late in the day.
LESS STRESS IN OUR LIFE Whatever we can do to just chill out and enjoy.
SOCIALLY ENGAGE Stay socially engaged. Make new friends. Keep all old friends, go out, do things. Don’t hole up and be by yourself. It’s important to be by yourself at times, but get out there and have a great lively social life.
GET YOUR BLOOD WORK DONE You need to know the numbers of your blood. You need to know what’s happening inside of your system with your blood because so many other degenerative diseases increase the risk of some sort of Dementia.
TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE Most of your health is not controlled by the health care system but by your own actions, your environment, your genes and social factors. Think about the ways that your health can improve by changing your lifestyle and make those changes. You are your own best advocate.