If you've opened a newspaper over the last few days (or even weeks, months or years) you're likely to have stumbled upon the facts and figures of the costs of chronic diseases to Americans and to the world in general. We all know (or have learned) that medical care in the U.S. is costly. And a new report on the cost of one such disease, dementia, highlights that fact. Dementia care cost the U.S. around $200 billion dollars in 2010 and is estimated to increase by 80% per adult by 2040!!!!! These are STAGGERING numbers and they should shock you (as they've shocked me).
If you've ever had a family member with Alzheimers or other types of dementia (neurovascular, Lewy body dementia, etc), you know the devastating toll dementia can take, not only mentally, but physically, emotionally and spiritually for both the patient and caregiver(s). (There are support groups set up specifically for those taking care of people with dementia, so if you are caring for someone with this diagnosis, make sure you seek proper self-care/support.)
My best advice would be to try everything in your power to avoid/prevent this progressive deterioration. What can you do to PREVENT this devastating diagnosis that millions suffer from?? The evidence is still out for many preventive suggestions, but here are a few that seem to reduce your risk.
Per Dr. Weil's website, you can make the following Lifestyle Changes
"1. Maintain a positive attitude. Studies show that a positive emotional state may help ward off cognitive decline. Social ties, involvement in church and community, and meaningful relationships all seem to be protective.
2. Keep your blood pressure under control. High blood pressure is the strongest risk factor for multi-infarct dementia. (I'd add to keep your sugars and weight at a healthy level to avoid microvascular damage to your blood vessels and nerves)
3. Exercise regularly. You can slow memory loss with regular aerobic exercise.
4. Keep your mind active. Combine physical and mental exercise: sing familiar songs while walking, or read the newspaper while riding a stationary exercise bike.
Nutrition and Supplements
Consider a daily low-dose aspirin. Some studies link the use of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Try turmeric, a unique spice. Recent animal research suggests that the yellow spice turmeric, a major ingredient in American mustard and Indian curry, can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This may help explain the unusually low incidence of Alzheimer’s in India, where people consume significant amounts of turmeric as part of the daily diet."
Use that noggin daily and here's to your health!
Dr. Maltz earned a Medical Degree and Master in Public Health from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, TX. She completed a combined Internal and Preventive Medicine Residency at UTMB in June, 2011. She then completed a 2-year Integrative Medicine Fellowship at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, CT, during which she simultaneously underwent an intensive 1000-hour curriculum created by The University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Program founded by Dr. Andrew Weil.