Dementia Awareness

Dementia is the number one cause of death in the UK and research into this disease is stated to be 20 years behind that of cancer.

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Dementia Awareness

80% of dementia could be prevented – we need to prioritise early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s

Dementia is the number one cause of death in the UK and research into this disease is stated to be 20 years behind that of cancer.  Hospital beds are two thirds occupied by dementia patients whose dependency for nursing care is high, yet it is too late at that stage for a cure.  Be prepared for some more numbers – earlier this month, the Alzheimer’s Society announced that dementia will cost the UK almost £91bn a year by 2040. 

There are 944,000 people in the UK living with dementia, one in eleven are people over the age of 65 and one in six over the age of 80.  One in three people born in the UK this year will develop dementia in their lifetime which is a worrying thought.  In the world there are 36 million people living with dementia and this is set to rise to 115 million by 2050 – 60-80% of that number is accounted for by Alzheimer’s.  It is not just the elderly that are affected.  There are more reports now of younger people, some in their 30s and 40s, getting diagnosed with what is termed ‘early onset’ dementia.  Around 3.9m in the world it is said and the youngest known is of a 19-year-old in China. 

The name ‘dementia’ – brain diseases or neurodegenerative disorders – describes a set of symptoms that, over time, can affect memory, problem-solving, language and behaviour.  There are three main types of dementia – Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) – where Alzheimer’s is the most common. 

Perhaps it should be of no surprise that dementia seems rare in ancient times, though mentions of significant memory loss has been uncovered in Roman and Greek medical literature from research led by the University of Southern California (full study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease February 2024).  Our population today is much larger, we are living much longer and the disease much publicised, so it stands to reason that it is much more of a health problem today.  What is fascinating is that the study suggests that denser cities and increased population in Roman times, together with the use of lead in cooking vessels and pipes, and even sweeteners used in wine may have escalated the cognitive decline mentioned.  Bridging the ancient texts with contemporary studies seems to suggest that environmental factors does indeed greatly impact dementia risk.

According to the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in a recent blog Alzheimer’s: prevention is better than cure | Institute for Optimum Nutrition, only one in 100 cases of the disease is predetermined by genes. They say that Alzheimer’s is entirely preventable in the rest of the population whose diet and lifestyle are optimised, either by accident or design. Or putting it another way – the way we are living is increasing our risk of developing this cruel decline in cognitive function.

Stress and lifestyle factors contribute considerably to the risk and there are things that you can do to delay the progression – the sooner you get started on this pathway, the easier and shorter time needed to initiate neuronal repair.  A well- balanced diet specific to your metabolic needs will support a healthy weight, and avoidance of environmental chemicals such as nicotine, vaping, alcohol, and other synthetic drugs is highly beneficial. Supporting good levels of blood pressure and blood sugar, as well as keeping the brain stimulated are vital, as is, would you believe it, protecting your hearing and keeping a good social life.

Research into Alzheimer’s seems to suggest that careful monitoring of levels in the body of homocysteine, Essential fatty acid balance such as omega-3 DHA and ALA, as well as optimising your levels of the hormone, Vitamin D, and good sleep, all reduce your risk of neural degeneration. Investing and nourishing your brain health from an early age can significantly reduce any risk of this condition. Neuroplasticity – the opportunity for the brain to rewire and repair, creating neurons consistently is dependent on environmental and lifestyle factors.   Traumatic life events, particularly in youth and middle age appear to leave an indelible mark in the form of proteins that might contribute to the risk of Alzheimer’s and if seen early enough, neural feedback is possible to reverse these findings.

We are pleased to announce that we now undertake qEEG Brain Mapping in our Hampshire clinic. We can record and analyse the brain’s electrical activity through microphones on the scalp – a non-invasive and quick procedure.  This provides insights into different brain wave frequency patterns and their distribution across the brain, highlighting strengths and imbalances and identifying traumatic lesions.  Repairing neuronal activity is possible but the identification of dysfunction precedes any protocol that might be suitable – an incredible opportunity for self- recovery.  It can help individuals enhance their cognitive function such as concentration, attention, depression and memory, and improve emotional regulation – symptoms which underpin physical and emotional stress.

We at Optimal Health Group have launched a MINDWORK Centre of Excellence in our Hampshire clinic this month.  Proud to have a team of experienced and dedicated clinicians and therapists who, with their combined knowledge, is able to help clients who are facing challenges with their mental wellbeing.  Using techniques and technology – such as brain mapping, hypnotherapy, RTT, constellation counselling and sound therapy – we create a bespoke treatment pathway, supporting clients through their wellness journey every step of the way.

 Rosalie Brewster, Natural Therapies Nurse, working with Optimal Health Group

 

If you want to know more or book an initial assessment, talk to our Care Team – 0330 223 6553 or email careteam@optimal-healthgroup.com.

#mentalhealthawarenessweek

#bettermentalhealth

#brainmapping

 

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