Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is a degenerative brain disease that can cause serious memory, thinking and behavior issues. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s usually start slowly and worsen over time, making it hard to complete simple tasks like brushing teeth and eating a meal on your own.
Often patients require constant care from professional caretakers or unpaid labor from family and friends. In this way Alzheimer’s affects not just the patient but all the people in their life who are not remembered while caring for their loved ones.
This September is World Alzheimer’s Month, a campaign by Alzheimer’s Disease International to raise awareness, highlight the importance of prevention, and to help fight the stigma surrounding the disease.
Mental and Physical Connection
All aspects of your health are affected by this condition as the brain drives the body and the body feeds the brain. Most people understand the cognitive effects of this debilitating disease; what many people don’t realize is how it can affect the body physically as well.
Alzheimer’s disease occurs in the brain as what are referred to as deposits of plaque and tangles of protein, disrupt brain cell connections, destroying brain cells in the process. However your self-care throughout your life can make a big impact on how fast the condition progresses.
For instance, when you monitor your heart health you can actually take great strides in also protecting your brain from dementia. A healthy heart will maintain a regular flow of blood to the brain, which promotes optimal brain health. Heart attacks, strokes and anything that stops the flow of blood increases your risk of dementia as well. Make sure to maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly to keep your heart healthy and your blood pressure at a healthy rate.
Mental Health and Alzheimer’s
Maintaining a healthy body is important but an emotional healthy mind is an amazing tool to slow or prevent Alzheimer’s. An engaged brain is a healthy brain. When you keep up with a healthy social life, you are actually fighting the risk of dementia. Depression and social isolation have both been traced to a greater likeliness of the disease. Like a muscle, the more the brain is flexed, the sharper and quicker it can become. Join a group, pursue a new hobby and read constantly to keep your brain strong!
The Link Between Hearing Loss and Dementia
When you explore some of the negative side effects of hearing loss, it becomes clear that it is more than just a hearing issue. Being able to hear the people around you and be aware of the sounds in a space, allow you to interact with your world, feel confident and independent.
Poor communication due to hearing loss often leads people to self isolate, rather than deal with the struggles of not understanding and feeling left out. When people self isolate, they often become depressed, and are under-stimulated, which are major risk factors for dementia. This becomes an even larger risk factor to consider; when the risk of dementia rises as people reach 65 and the presence of hearing loss at this age is 1 in 3 for seniors with hearing loss.
An important study from Johns Hopkins University surveyed seniors with and without hearing loss and found that seniors with mild hearing loss had double the risk of dementia, moderate hearing loss tripled the risk, and severe hearing loss increased the likelihood of developing dementia by five times.
Treating Hearing Loss
If you experience a hearing loss, hearing aids are used successfully to amplify the sounds you are missing, so you can hear the people and world around you. Hearing aids help people communicate again so they can stay active, engaged and social in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.
Because the risk of hearing loss is one in three as you hit 65 if you are of this age or older it is recommended that you get tested annually. Why not let World Alzheimer’s Month be a call to action to deal with your hearing issues today?
Make an appointment to have your hearing checked today. Our team can help you find the best hearing aids for you to keep your ears and your mind healthy and sharp for years to come.