Warning Signs You Have Alzheimer's, Says Physician
Alzheimer's disease has a significant impact on quality of life. It's important to know about it so one can plan accordingly. It is progressive, meaning it will get worse over time. We still do not have good treatment so having a care plan is critical before you lose decision-making abilities or your loved ones get overwhelmed. Read on to learn about the warning signs of Alzheimer's—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
You Can't Follow Directions
One of the first warning signs of Alzheimer's is an inability to follow directions, particularly with familiar items. For example, messing up on a family recipe. Or forgetting an ingredient for a cake that has been made several times before.
You Can't Function Without GPS
Another warning sign is getting lost on the way home. Or having to use GPS for everything— even in one's home neighborhood.
You Made Simple Mistakes in Your Taxes
This is the time of year when we see people who are good at math make mistakes in their tax prep. That's often an early sign.
You Repeat Yourself
Everyone tends to repeat the same story from time to time, but it's a warning sign if you often repeat stories you told earlier in the day or the day before.
What You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer's
We don't know for sure what helps prevent Alzheimer's. A healthy diet of fish, fruits, and vegetables plays a role. Social connections—real ones—matter in terms of combating loneliness which often causes early dementia. Keeping the mind active — learning a new language or hobby also helps.
What You Should Do if You Notice These Signs?
If one does notice signs, you should get imaging of the brain. Sometimes it's a CT scan but more often it's an MRI. Making lifestyle changes – eating healthy and exercising- may delay progression. There also are numerous clinical trials taking place.
In terms of social connections — get together with friends for coffee. Consider starting a book club — it keeps the mind active and promotes connection. Even weekly religious services plan an important role with connections. We continue to make new brain connections as we get older. So it may take longer to process, but we don't lose our smarts as we get older! Keep your brain and social connections active.
It's not about diets but patterns of eating — substituting meat once or twice a week for fish, smaller portions of foods, more whole grains instead of refined grains, water vs alcohol. Another key piece is looking for foods with antioxidants – fresh fruit, fish , and even coffee —- they help prevent clots.
Even if you can't exercise 30 min 5 days a week — start with 10 min 2-3 times. Work up to it. Try power walking for 15 min 3 times a week.
The Final Word from the Doctor
Remember, since age is a major factor for Alzheimer's. You still need to focus on heart disease, cancer and other health issues. So a healthy lifestyle will also help prevent those conditions and incorporating some of the key pieces above is a great way for long-term preventative care.
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