Dementia is such a cruel illness - although our loved one is there in person we are robbed of their real presence. As an A&E doctor I am so aware of what this awful disease involves and this is now amplified as my lovely mum has vascular dementia and so I see it from both viewpoints. This pic was taken the last time she visited me in Manchester - we went for afternoon tea at The Midland Hotel for my birthday - I didn’t know then that it would be the last time she would be well enough to visit me.
There is much that can be done to support brain health in an effort to prevent the onset of dementia and also to support your loved one if they have a diagnosis. From nutrition to brain training and using essential oils to support it all. Medication, although necessary in some cases the benefits are primarily aimed at controlling agitation, aggression and or psychotic symptoms and the use of pharmacological treatments often has limits with their effectiveness diminishing as time goes on.
Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of progressive conditions that affect the brain, these stop person’s brain cells (neurones) working properly in specific areas, affecting their ability to remember, think and peak.As a doctor we typically use the word ‘‘dementia’’ to describe common symptoms – such as memory loss, confusion, and problems with speech and understanding – that get worse over time.
Dementia can affect a person at any age but it’s more common in people over the age of 65. There are over 200 subtypes of dementia. The most common two are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia. Sadly it is estimated that by 2025, over one million people in the UK will have a diagnosis of dementia – and almost all of us will know someone living with the condition.
So let’s look at prevention as we all know that is better than cure - Lifestyle factors have a much greater contribution to AD than genetics. Only 3% of AD cases are caused purely by genetic mutations. The changes begin in the brain in half of people by age 50 and even 10% of those in their twenties.
Nutrition should be the foundation of all - now the western diet plays a massive role in the development of dementia - with the lowest incidence from validated data seen in rural India where people eat traditional plant based diets centered on grains and vegetables. It is crucial that cholesterol and high blood pressure as vascular factors have shown to be a significant contributor to disease progression.
Eat a colourful diet rich in phytonutrients supplemented with vitamin B12 - In The Nurses Health Study it was found that women who consumed at least one serving of blueberries and 2 servings of strawberries each week had slower rates of cognitive decline by as much as 2 and a half years compared to those who didn’t eat berries. Even drinking fruit and vegetable juice may be beneficial - the active ingredient suspected is a class of powerful brain-accessing antioxidants called polyphenols they have also been shown to protect nerve cells .Eating fibre rich foods helps control cholesterol and blood sugar - it is in abundance in plant based food - leafy green vegetables, berries such as blueberries, whole grains and beans.
A supplement like the Lifelong Vitality Trio is really beneficial as it will give a good boost in your micronutrient intake and provides optimum levels of omega 3 which is vital for brain health.
Daily exercise is crucial to maintain mobility, support the musculoskeletal system and maintain community interaction - why not join a class or a group whether it is walking or yoga but do something that is aerobic just stretching is not enough although it all helps to maintain that movement and that social activity. However, in studies using MRI scans it was found that aerobic exercise actually reversed age-related shrinkage of the memory centres of the brain. Aerobic exercise can help improve cerebral blood flow, improve memory performance and help preserve brain tissue.
Sleep -what you do in the 20 years preceding the onset of dementia is what plays a role. Using essential oil to support your sleep can really help to ensure that you not only fall asleep but stay asleep during the night and make sure that the quality of your sleep is also good too. Sleep is when your body including your brain recovers and heals and if you are not giving it downtime then it won’t be able to function optimally.
Relaxation is also crucial to maintain a healthy brain and overall health - our modern stressful lives contribute to raised blood pressure , weakens the immune system, causes digestive problems all of which contribute to another risk factor for dementia. Yoga, exercise, meditation, reading all help us to relax but also setting goals to get work done and scheduling the downtime as a result. Using essential oils in a diffuser in the home is of great benefit or topically and inhaling that throughout the day all helps to reduces the feelings of anxiety as well as lower blood pressure and raise the positive vibes. Ideal choices are citrus oil, Balance, lavender, Adaptiv and so on.
The brain also benefits from exercise - don't stop using it, by actively learning we build new neural pathways which help our brain continue to function well. Regular brain training in a variety of ways can help improve cognitive functions such as concentration, attention to detail, memory recall and problem solving, and also reduce the chance of developing dementia. The key is to keep learning new things - language lessons are a great option but you are never too old to learn something new so what is it you fancy doing and continue taking part in those Wordles which are great fun and crosswords, word searches, sudoku or anything else you like to do. Food rich in anti-oxidants are essential for promoting the release of Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor and the LifeLong Vitality pack is really rich in anti-oxidants as well as products such as the Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex and DDR Prime - read more about the latter here https://www.thehealthfuldoctor.com/Blog/2022/5/27/ddr-prime-what-is-it-all-about/
Why not join my latest class to learn more - there will be more detailed information on all these topics along with some recipes for natural solutions to support your brain health as well as tips and tricks to optimise function too.
If you have a loved one with dementia or you would like to know more ways about personalised plans to support your health and well-being - get in touch for a FREE wellness chat