Battling the silent epidemic: Defy early-onset dementia with brain-boosting strategies
(NaturalHealth365) It’s frightening: the number of non-elderly diagnosed with dementia is on the rise. Defined as striking people younger than 65, early-onset dementia can take the form of a range of brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or brain infections.
While devastating at any age, dementia is particularly overwhelming when it strikes those in their 50s, 40s, or even 30s, with families, financial obligations, and careers in full swing and those around them deeply impacted. Early-onset dementia makes it especially difficult for those affected to cope with the knowledge that their productive years and lifespan have been drastically shortened.
Research reveals dementia is disproportionately affecting the Western World
Researchers conducting studies across 20 developed nations over 11 years discovered that Western countries had experienced the most significant, disproportional increase in the disease affecting people aged 45 to 74. Australian researchers found that it is likely that 1 out of every 750 Australians is affected by early-onset dementia.
Scientific findings suggest the prevalence of the disease can be decreased with regular exercise, cessation of smoking, and drinking only in moderation. In addition, science suggests eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables could help to minimize the disease.
Environmental factors are to blame for epidemic rise in brain disorders
Researchers who have warned of this “silent epidemic” believe environmental factors are likely to blame for this trend toward earlier development of the disease. While no one factor was identified as the primary culprit, toxic chemical pollution from vehicles, jets, and other industry sources is thought to play a major role.
The environmental changes caused by increases in the amount of pollution as well as the increase in pesticides, GMOs, and electromagnetic fields, clearly coincide with the timeline for changes seen in the earlier onset of dementia. Researchers say the age of onset began to erode over the past 20 years.
Scientists have also discovered that in a few hundred families worldwide, rare genes seem to cause the development of symptoms in those in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. This form of the disease is known as “familial Alzheimer’s disease” and typically affects several family members across multiple generations. However, most cases of early-onset dementia are not linked to genetic causes.
Why is early-onset dementia difficult to diagnose?
Only a couple of decades ago, concerns over early-onset dementia focused on patients in their early 60s. Today, the age affected by the early-onset version of this disease has shifted to patients in their 40s and 50s – and sometimes even younger.
One of the difficulties with this downward shifting of age is that younger patients are often misdiagnosed, sometimes repeatedly. Healthcare providers typically do not look for Alzheimer’s disease in younger patients, often mistaking symptoms for stress or depression. Patients are also in varying stages of the disease when they first seek a diagnosis and may differ in symptoms, further complicating the process of correctly diagnosing the disease.
The process for diagnosis typically includes a thorough medical exam, as well as cognitive tests, a neurological exam, and possibly, brain imaging. A comprehensive medical evaluation with a doctor who specializes in Alzheimer’s disease is vital. It is helpful to your provider if you write down your symptoms of memory loss or cognitive difficulties.
Take charge of your brain health: Tips to prevent dementia
While there is no conventional treatment to reverse dementia, early diagnosis, and treatment are available when you have the right healthcare provider by your side. If safeguarding your brain health and minimizing the risk of dementia is a priority, here are some valuable tips to consider
Stay physically active: Regular exercise boosts blood flow to the brain, promoting overall brain health.
Eat a brain-boosting diet: Consume foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins, such as organic berries, leafy greens, and wild-caught fatty fish.
Stay mentally active: Engage in activities that challenge your brain, like puzzles, reading, or learning a new skill.
Get quality sleep: Prioritize sleep – especially between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. – for memory consolidation and cognitive function.
Manage your stress: Chronic stress can harm the brain, so practice relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing.
Socialize regularly: Maintain strong social connections to stimulate your brain and prevent cognitive decline.
Limit alcohol and avoid smoking: Excessive alcohol and smoking can damage the brain, so use them sparingly or quit altogether.
Protect your head: Prevent head injuries by wearing helmets during sports or activities with risks of head trauma.
Stay hydrated: Dehydration can impair brain function, so drink plenty of clean water throughout the day.
Seek medical advice: Consult a holistic healthcare provider if you notice memory problems or cognitive decline for early intervention.
Remember, adopting a brain-healthy lifestyle can help prevent dementia and improve overall cognitive function. The sooner you begin making lifestyle changes, the better.
Sources for this article include:
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