Hi, welcome to our time of tea & reflection dear friend! Today we are reflecting upon a very important topic which is relevant to all!
I have just recently completed a University course on its prevention so I will share an updated summary on what we can do to considerably lower our risk for this insidious disease, hopefully preventing it all together!
Dementia is the most concerning disease of our time
For governments & Epidemiological departments globally…so much so, that researchers from around the world are joining forces to try & alleviate population risk for the future development of this growing disease that has no known cure!
First let’s get comfortable with our cuppa’s, I have combined two tea blends today a Japanese Apple tea with a Lady Grey tea, accompanied by a GF Double Choc Brownie with candied citrus peel & walnuts to munch upon… absolutely delicious & so morish!
Again, it’s cold here today but the Winter Sun is shining & we have found a sheltered sunny spot under our big beautiful Jacaranda tree.
Now we are enjoying our beautiful sunny spot with our cuppa’s & treats, shall we begin our reflection together…
A little background for you, I have always had a professional interest in Dementia & how this condition develops & irreversibly affects the patient’s quality of life, as well as, the devastating impact upon their families.
Thus, I like to keep updated with the latest research findings & proven best practice therapies for this disease. Last year I did Understanding Dementia & this year part two, Preventing Dementia with the University of Tasmania, Australia, for continuing professional development.
These are free academic online courses open to all interested parties, world wide. I highly recommend them!
Now let’s see what we can do…
The longitudinal research has found that the earlier in life we start the following lifestyle inclusions the better the outcome.
However starting these lifestyle inclusions at any age showed a huge improvement in quality of life & considerably lowered the risk for Dementia.
Did you know there are several types of Dementia not just the commonly known one of Alzheimer’s Disease. There is also Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, Frontotemperal Dementia, Younger onset Dementia & Dementia that may be brought on by other medical conditions.
Though today my emphasis will be on the preventative measures…Research has found that;
What is good for heart health is good for brain health…
“Take care of your heart with all diligence for it is the wellspring of life!” Proverbs 4:23
At least 150 minutes of physical activity per week is the ideal target, this can incorporate walking, house chores, gardening or the more active aerobic exercise (for those fitter ones out there).
Any activity that gets our hearts pumping faster is good! Please check with your physician if you have heart problems before increasing your physical activity.
- This can be done in the following increments of time each week… 7 days ÷ 150 minutes p/w = approximately 22 minutes per day of activity that gets your heart rate up!
Healthy Diet plays a large part too, so a well balanced diet similar to the Mediterranean diet is recommended! Fresh fruit & vegetables, grains, nuts, olive oil, dairy & lean meats. Which makes sense as this is also great for our cardiovascular health.
Moderation of alcohol consumption…only 1 glass of wine per day is recommended. No catching up on weekends, no binge drinking. All alcoholic beverages impact neurological functionality & brain health!
Quality Sleep, is one of the important factors in this preventative prescription. Quality restorative sleep of at least 6 – 8 hours per night gives the brain time to clean the days accumulated plaque away & to organize it’s memory files.
Social & leisure health is also a part of the Preventing Dementia prescription… Those who have an active face to face social group that they can enjoy regularly, we’re seen to create healthy neurological chemicals & pathways.
Isolating oneself is unhealthy for social, mental, neurological & spiritual wellness.
Learning new things & educating ourselves throughout our life…Challenging our brains consistently & constantly creates new neural pathways that help build a Cognitive Reserve for healthier brain function & an investment for our quality of life in the future. This can be learning a new language, a new skill, doing puzzles, reading, going to museums or studying etc…
Keep Mentally healthy is also very important, making room for good mental health practices is essential. Getting professional help & treatment when needed. Making time for restorative activities.
The research found unaddressed or untreated Depression is one of the higher risk factors for Dementia (please note: not everyone who has Depression will get Dementia but rather the risk increases markedly if left untreated).
There was also good news for those of us who have chronic health conditions that cause Brain Malaise aka brain fog or fibro fog, research found there is no demonstrated higher risk between Brain Fog & Alzheimer’s (ref)! Yay!
So to personalize this, I am slowly building my physical activity to the target of 150 minutes per week, which seemed an absolute impossible task at first with having Fibromyalgia but I am already up to 75 minutes now! Slowly increasing the time over the past few weeks by walking.
I invite dear hubby out for a walk each time I go
So he is getting his physical activity increased too & I have noticed we talk about things that interest us more while we walk!
While we have always mostly followed a well balanced diet, similar to the Mediterranean one. I have cut back (though still have a small treat each day) on my sugary treats with my cuppa’s replacing most with fruit or nuts instead.
As you can see above I enjoy research, I find writing for this blog constantly challenging for building my Cognitive Reserve. I also enjoy reading & word puzzles.
I do try & socialize with friends & family as able. Over the past year, when possible, I have enjoyed a lovely time in morning tea & prayer with a little group of ladies from our village church.
And if you visit here often you already know I enjoy journaling, reflection & taking time to smell the roses.
The biggest challenge on the prescription for me is quality of sleep! As having Fibromyalgia, quantity & quality of sleep is often allusive. Though I had already began the following Sleep strategies… to help this…which has improved it for the moment.
What could you do to improve your lifestyle from the preventing Dementia prescription?
Until next time,
Jennifer is a published author, discover more in The Book Nook
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