The Dementia Dilemma

The shadow of dementia plagues many families. Dementia is a major issue! It’s sad to see your family member or loved one fade away before your eyes. Cherished memories can slip away into a black hole of symptoms we call dementia. It’s difficult to think that any of us or someone we know could be affected by this someday.

Dementia is the loss of brain functions such as cognitive thinking, memory, ability to focus, concentrate on a normal task, and reasoning that is severe enough to interfere with a person’s daily functioning. It develops when the parts of the brain that are involved with learning, memory, decision-making, and language are affected by one or more of a variety of infections or diseases. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, but there are as many as 50 other known causes. Dementia is not a disease itself, but rather a group of symptoms that are caused by various diseases or conditions. Symptoms can also include changes in personality, mood, and behavior.

Some say, dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s can be preventable! We’ve all heard ‘virtually every neurological disease can be prevented’, right? Let’s examine the root of the issue. Why do we get these awful symptoms that can turn into dementia?  It all starts when we were around the ripe old age of 20. At 20, our brain functions begin to decrease and, as each year passes, our brain functions become slower! The reason could well be a lack of brain exercise.  Your brain functions similar to a muscle. Synapses and connections that allow us to draw on memory for daily tasks and reasoning can grow weaker if not consistently challenged and exercised.

Fortunately, simple daily games and mental exercises can help you stay sharp. If you own a smartphone or tablet, then you can use brain training games such as Lumosity. According to Lumosity, you can “improve your brain health and performance with brain games designed by neuroscientists to exercise memory and attention”.

Inexpensive and easily accessible puzzles such as crosswords and sudoku can really exercise your gray matter! Creative pursuits can also exert a tremendous effect on your brain. Challenging your brain to learn new skills such as cooking (microwave meals don’t count), writing short stories or poems, learning to draw and paint, or learning to play an instrument can assist in keeping your mind razor sharp.

Dr. Ryuta Kawashima is a Japanese neuroscientist known for his appearances in the Brain Training/Brain Age series.  Dr. Kawashima states that a brain scan of a person watching television shows almost zero brain activity. On a separate brain scan of a person doing a word puzzle, the brain becomes extremely active showing heightened brain functioning. Mental inactivity is the enemy of a healthy brain.

Don’t neglect the importance of excellent nutrition in your pursuit of lifelong brain health.  Eliminating processed foods, refined sugars and unhealthy saturated and trans fats will immediately improve critical blood flow and oxygenation of brain tissues.  Consume ample amounts daily of fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy fats from raw nuts and seeds to provide vital nutrients for your entire body. So, go ahead and get your brain flexing on! Have fun and flex your cortex!

We hope you’ve learned much from another healthy moment from face naturals!

** The article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult with your naturopath or physician for more information regarding dementia and any diseases associated with this article.

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