Dear reader A friend of mine was just diagnosed with vascular dementia also known as Type 3 Diabetes. This condition is caused by clogged arteries in the brain just like Type 2 Diabetes is caused by clogged arteries in the body. He was found by his cleaning lady one morning out of it, naked and bruised all over. His son got him admitted to the hospital where he stayed for a week. When I visited him in the beginning of that week he could barely keep his eyes open or respond to conversation.
Below you will find 12 risk factors that you have the power to change or modify to protect your brain. You don’t have to take my word for it just Google the 12 modifiable risk factors of dementia for the science behind it. My friend, who I say is allergic to self-care, has many of these risk factors. One of them is social isolation. Because he ignored my health recommendations for many years he ended up lying in bed with terrible low back pain for weeks taking pain medication and shunning social contact. The good news is that with continual attention in the hospital, an improved diet and getting off opioid medication combined with the NSAID acetaminophen plus losing approximately 20 pounds he was able to be released to a nursing home one week later. In the nursing home, after the first couple of days, he participated in physical therapy five days a week walking, working on balance and doing some aerobic exercise. He was on a diabetic diet. And again received a lot of attention both from the nursing home staff as well as many visitors. Now released from the nursing home to an assisted living center, there is hope that he can continue to live a full and vibrant life. A college friend who developed into an osteopathic physician affiliated with a neurologic hospital told me that in his practice and in conversation with neurologist colleagues; there are no good drug solutions for dementia. Their opinion is that they do not work. And there are no guarantees but … as with many diseases and debilitating conditions you have much power to ward off sickness and live a healthy and productive life by the way you choose to live and care for yourself.
Self-care is not taught to us except maybe brushing our teeth. The dentists did a good job getting that message out. Continue to read to discover choices and actions you can take to nourish and protect your precious brain. 1 Midlife hearing loss - I don’t know why but many people choose to ignore hearing loss which cuts out a major brain stimulating factor and contributes to social isolation. Go see an audiologist and get checked out if this is you. 2 Education - curiosity and Lifelong Learning are ways to keep your brain fully charged. Opportunity is everywhere. 3 TBI or traumatic brain injury - can be a factor in dementia. Good diet, chiropractic and craniosacral therapy, plus Lifelong Learning are ways to minimize the damage from a TBI. 4 Hypertension - there are so many ways to lower your blood pressure: breathing exercises, meditation, physical exercise, diet, and appropriate nutritional supplements. Check with your healthcare advisor. Don’t let your blood pressure stay high. 5 Physical inactivity- you’ve heard this adage: if you don’t use it you lose it. That goes for everything. Regular exercise is required if you want ton feel good on all levels. 6 Diabetes - that’s Type 2 and 3. Diet and lifestyle choices can make a huge difference. 7 Midlife excessive alcohol - there are so many ways to relax, feel good and have fun. Why poison your brain with excessive alcohol? Recent studies in Britain indicate that any alcohol consumption is bad. Excessive for women is more than two glasses of wine a week. Men can have a little more and not be excessive. 8 Obesity - same advice: diet and exercise come into play here. You may need psychological support for emotional eating. Or hormonal balance to overcome this obstacle to brain health. 9 Smoking - cuts down on blood flow to your brain. So the natural pathways of needed nutrition delivery and removal of toxins are cut down starving your brain cells and letting them fill up with garbage. It’s a hard addiction to break but worth the effort. 10 Depression - a lack of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can cause this problem. You get those from eating fatty fish three times a week and or taking EPA/DHEA supplements. B complex vitamins are required for a healthy mood. Specific nutrients and amino acids like 5HTP, tryptophan, and GABA can be helpful. Exercise can be as effective as anti-depressant medication. But sometimes you need to speak to a therapist or psychiatrist when all else fails. 11 Isolation - human beings have three basic needs: safety, satisfaction and connection. No man is an island is not a cliché but a fact. When cut off from others we lose ourselves. Keep reaching out until you find connections that satisfy you. 12 Air pollution - every year there are 1000 new man-made chemicals released into our environment. Our physiology is not able to keep up. These toxins buildup and accumulate in our bodies and brains causing damage. Antioxidant supplements can help here. As well as detoxification practices such as adequate water, saunas, sweating and chelating substances. These are biochemical ways to protect you from air pollution. And of course air filters and certain plants like spider plants in your home clean your air. Overwhelmed? Need support? Click here to schedule an appointment to talk with me if you need help figuring out your next best steps to nourishing and protecting your brain from dementia. As always, here’s to your best health, Dr. Linda
Dr. Linda Berry Healing Arts Chiropractic Nutrition Trauma Healing Please note: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical care. Always consult with your healthcare provider for advice before you begin taking new supplements. You are responsible for all of the health choices you make.
FUN FACT Your brain's storage capacity is considered virtually unlimited. Research suggests the human brain consists of about 86 billion neurons. Each neuron forms connections to other neurons, which could add up to 1 quadrillion (1,000 trillion) connections. Over time, these neurons can combine, increasing storage capacity.