Alzheimer's Disease is the most common type of dementia, in which the mental ability of a person declines and gradually reaches a stage where it becomes difficult for them to lead a normal life.
It is an incurable disease with a long and progressive course. According to an IANS report, in India there are more than 50 lakh people suffering from dementia, of which nearly 80 percent have Alzheimer's. According to doctors, this number is expected to double by 2030.
But how do we determine Alzheimer's and how can we steer clear of it? Dr Rajesh Garg, Head of Department & Director, Neurology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh explains, "Often, memory loss is one of the first or more recognizable signs of dementia."
Other early signs may include
Asking the same questions repeatedly
Forgetting common words when speaking
Mixing words up — saying "bed" instead of "table," for example
Taking longer to complete familiar tasks, such as following a recipe
Misplacing items in inappropriate places, such as putting a wallet in a kitchen drawer
Getting lost while walking or driving around a familiar neighborhood
Undergoing sudden changes in mood or behavior for no apparent reason
Becoming less able to follow directions
Ways to prevent memory loss
While there is no scientific data to prove this theory, doctors believe that there are ways to prevent memory loss related to old age. Dr Garg elaborates
Keep your brain occupied and not let it be idle.
Risk factors such as diabetes, high BP and cholesterol should be closely monitored and kept under control.
Avoid smoking and drinking
Take healthy diet including fresh fruits, greens and dry fruits.
Be happy, and avoid stress and anxiety, as they could impair memory.
Nutrition for Alzheimer patients
Just like any other disease, nutrition plays a very important role in the prevention and tackling of Alzheimer's. Ms. Aditi Midha, Neuro Physiotherapist at AktivOrtho shares, "The brain needs its own brand of fuel. It requires healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and adequate vitamins and minerals. Consuming too little of these foods and too many complex carbohydrates, processed foods and sugar stimulates the production of toxins in the body. Those toxins can lead to inflammation, the build-up of plaques in the brain and, as a result, impaired cognitive function."
Here are some diet essentials
Processed cheeses build up proteins in the body that have been associated with Alzheimer's.
Processed meats contain nitrosamines, which cause the liver to produce fats that are toxic to the brain.
Beer contains nitrites, which have been linked to Alzheimer's.
White foods, including pasta, cakes, white sugar, white rice and white bread etc causes a spike in insulin production and sends toxins to the brain.
Microwave popcorn contains diacetyl, a chemical that may increase amyloid plaques in the brain. Research has linked a buildup of amyloid plaques to Alzheimer's disease.
A growing number of herbal remedies, dietary supplements and "medical foods" are promoted as memory enhancers or treatments to delay or prevent Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
Some of the medical foods include
Leafy green vegetables
Salmon and other cold-water fish
Berries and dark-skinned fruits
Coffee and chocolate
Extra virgin olive oil
Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil
Quick Tips for Nutrition
Eat variety of food like fruits vegetables whole grains lean meat and dairy products.
Keep healthy weight , Alzheimer may feel less hungry or thirsty have problem chewing or swallowing have trouble using utensil...in this situation it is quite possible that they lose weight quickly.
Offer them smaller meals or snacks more often eating small and frequent meal will be easier than getting only 3 big meals in a day.
Focus on more nutritious high calorie food be the first meal.
Good option for them is bite size, finger food like chicken nuggets tuna sandwich fruit slice.
Limit food with high saturated fats and cholesterol like fatty meats and fried food
Cut down on sugar.
Avoiding eating too much salt.
Drink plenty of water.