Dementia is the name for a group of symptoms associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning. And Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia in the United States. It accounts for approximately 65% to 75% of all cases. In fact, there are more than 4 million Americans affected by Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, it appears women live longer than men with Alzheimer’s and so represent twice as many cases. The combined cost of direct management and lost productivity is at least $100 billion annually. In fact, the National Institute on aging estimates that as many as 5 million Americans over the age of 65 have some form of Alzheimer’s disease. In its latest statement, the Alzheimer’s Association states that as many as one in three older people will die from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in the United States. And more and more patients are afraid of losing their memory.
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are things you can do to maintain your cognitive health as you get older in regard to cognitive dysfunction. This post is about Alzheimer’s and Chiropractic.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
It is a progressive condition, which means the symptoms develop gradually over many years and eventually it severely affects multiple brain functions. The first sign of Alzheimer’s disease is usually minor memory problems. For instance, this could be forgetting about recent conversations or events, and forgetting the names of places and objects. Next, common symptoms include memory loss, concentration problems, confusion with familiar tasks, difficulty communicating, mood changes, and anxiety. Finally, the stages of Alzheimer’s disease leads to increased mental and physical deterioration until eventually the person needs 24-hour care.
Scientists think Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells. These deposits (amyloid) form plaques around brain cells. Yet another protein (Tau) deposits in tangles within brain cells. Although it’s not known exactly what causes this process to begin, scientists now know that it begins many years before symptoms appear. Lastly, neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) are decreased so brain signals/messages are not sent.
Risks for developing Alzheimer’s Disease
Firstly, age is the single most significant factor. The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases after you reach 65. However, early- or young-onset Alzheimer’s disease can affect people from around the age of 40.
Secondly, the genes you inherit from your parents can contribute to your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Nevertheless, the actual increase in risk is small unless you have a specific single gene. Then the risk is much higher.
Thirdly, if you have Down’s Syndrome, suffered head injuries, hypertension, diabetes and/or have cardiovascular disease you are at a greater risk.
Fourthly, you can lower your risk by: not smoking/avoiding second hand smoke, eating a healthy diet and loosing weight if necessary, leading an active life mentally and physically, avoiding excess alcohol/drugs.
Fifthly, the latest research shows that factors that increase the risk also include: hypertension, hearing impairments, social isolation, untreated depression, toxins/air pollution.
Chiropractic and Your Nervous System/ Brain
As chiropractors, we believe in the concept of wellness for our patients and we recognize things like receiving chiropractic adjustments, exercising, eating healthy and sleep hygiene as important parts of a wellness program. Such a wellness program will certainly lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Even if you don’t have a family history of Alzheimer’s, as you age, your nerve cells lose speed and flexibility. You might start forgetting more and remembering less. You will need antioxidants (like vitamins A, C, and E) to counter the oxidative stress of aging. Eating right and supplementing with a multivitamin everyday will help. Some possible nutritional supplements for dementia include: Ginko biloba, Ginseng (Panax ginseng), Coenzyme Ql0.
Finally, this is where your chiropractic adjustment comes in. Getting regular adjustments to get your body aligned keeps your nervous system/ brain functioning at it’s optimum.
Contact your West Palm Beach Chiropractor at 561-253-8984 today to make an appointment or to learn more about Alzheimer’s and Chiropractic.
*Please consult your doctor prior to trying above supplements.