June Is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month
Thirty years ago, neurologists diagnosed dementia or Alzheimer's disease for anyone exhibiting signs of severe memory loss. Today, with more precise and diagnostic tools, neurologists can distinguish between different types of dementia whether vascular, frontotemporal, or Lewy body—and prescribe treatments accordingly. Read about other advances in diagnosing and treating dementia and Alzheimer's disease and what neurologists think the future holds here. Learn more about the basics of Alzheimer's disease here.
Smart Ways to Stress Less
Stress is bad for the brain, especially if you have a neurologic condition. Studies show it can exacerbate symptoms and may even increase disease activity. It's impossible to rid your life of stress but you can minimize its negative effects. Experts say getting regular exercise and adequate sleep can help as can as activities such as meditation and mindfulness—being more attentive, present, and engaged in each moment. Read more about the connection between stress and brain health, including more tips for de-compressing, here.
Strengthen Social Ties
There are many risk factors for Alzheimer's disease, some of which you can control and others you cannot. One that is particularly intriguing to researchers is social isolation. People who spend a lot of time alone may be at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease than those who are more social. Fostering social ties, experts say, may be more important than ever. Not only do social relationships enhance quality of life, but evidence suggests that maintaining connections with others may help delay cognitive decline and even stall its progression once it sets in. Learn how to build and maintain your own social network here.
Exercise is good for everyone, but that doesn't make it any easier to do. Most of us struggle to get started and stay motivated. That struggle is compounded for people with neurologic conditions who may need special equipment, customized facilities, and trained therapists. Given those challenges, it's no surprise that people with neurologic conditions tend to be more sedentary, which increases their risk of heart disease and diabetes. To help you get motivated to be more active, read our expert tips and strategies here.
Living with Early-Stage Alzheimer's
A diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is devastating at any age, but those who are diagnosed in their 40s and 50s—about half of all Alzheimer's cases—face special challenges. To accommodate those particular needs, many social services and support groups have cropped up to help patients and their families and caregivers. Learn more about what life is like for these people here.