Friday, 2 February, 2007 6:16 PM
Ways You Can Delay and Reduce Your Chances of Getting Alzheimer's
According to a brain
expert, there are several steps you can take right now to put off
or even lessen your chance of getting Alzheimer's Disease. The disease
affects an estimated 4.5 million people in America alone. That number
is expected to rise over the next few decades. Follow these steps
and you could be adding years to your life.
Alvaro Fernandez is a
brain expert from San Francisco. He has been living in California
for the past nine years. He is originally from Spain. Fernandez
is the co-founder and CEO of SharpBrains.com and the creator of
the college course "Exercise Our Brains."
Alzheimer's Disease is
a form of dimentia. It is a gradual process that can go on for eight
years or as many as twenty years, depending on the person. It can
start in your early 50's. However, it is more common in people over
the age of 70.
creates the appearance of plaques and tangles in the brain. These
chemical substances affect mental functioning," Fernandez
said. "It starts to destroy neurons and connections."
He said it is important
to remember that there are billions of neurons in our brains. The
brain makes up 5% of our total body weight. People with the beginning
stages of the disease suffer in thinking abilities. They often become
confused. Alzheimer's Disease is a very slow and gradual process.
It's not something that happens overnight.
There is no treatment
for Alzheimer's Disease yet. However, there is a lot of research
being done. Fernandez says there are four key concepts to understand.
-- Pay attention to what you eat. Our brain uses nutrients. Select
healthier food choices.
- Physical Exercise
-- It helps in the creation of new neurons.
- Stress Management
-- It reduces your rate of getting Alzheimer's Disease. It builds
- Mental Exercise
-- It creates neurons and helps you live longer.
As we said before, there
is a lot of research on the disease. Fernandez believes that researchers
will eventually find a way to destroy tangles without hurting the
brain. This will slow the development of Alzheimer's.
Stem cells are also going
to help find a cure. They are not the only solution to the disease.
Stem cells will benefit the patient by creating new neurons as well.
"Eventually, they will die if we don't put them to
work. After a few days." The expert says that mental
exercise is needed to create the connections between the new neurons.
What about crossword
puzzles and math problems? Fernandez does not believe in crossword
puzzles. He says people should focus on a more comprehensive workout
for the brain. However, he believes in math problems because they
involve working memory. They require you to remember numbers and
how to combine them.
There are three things
you must do in order to delay or reduce your chance of getting Alzheimer's.
First, you must learn new things. Secondly, you will need to incorporate
variety into your life to exercise all areas of the brain. Finally,
the level of difficulty has to increase. Just like at the gym, you
must work out by adding more weight. The brain is a muscle and it
needs to be stimulated.
Fernandez says there
are computer programs that can offer lots of brain exercise. They
will measure to see what level your at and provide activities to
work out your brain further. He also believes that playing video
games can keep your brain stimulated. Try learning a new musical
instrument or a foreign language. You can also try tap dancing.
The expert created a
college course called "Exercise Our Brains." It is being
offered at universities in California right now. It will be expanded
to other states during the summer. The class will provide you with
information about brain exercises, describe how to use the exercise
machines and give you a chance to work with personal brain trainers.
It is an eight hour class.
The life expectancy for
someone with Alzheimer's Disease is very long. It can be difficult
for doctors to diagnose at first. They will use cognitive tests
to determine if a patient has the disease or not. An individual
with the disease can live for 10 to 20 years.
The stage just before
Alzheimer's begins is called mild cognitive impairment.
When an individual becomes stressed, it puts them closer to this
stage. However, if you exercise your brain, you can get out of this
want to keep working. That will ensure health care and mental ability
with a new job," Fernandez said. "We
can improve our ability to handle stress."
What are some of the
risk factors for Alzheimer's Disease? If you are over 70 years old,
your chances are a lot higher. If you have a lower level of education,
you are more likely to get the disease. The reason is because of
less exposure to mental stimulation.
If you are in the beginning
stages of the disease, it is possible to reverse the effects. In
the beginning, you are still aware of what's going on mentally.
Your brain can still create neurons and connections between them.
However, after two or three years of being diagnosed with Alzheimer's,
there is not much you can do. There is no cure for Alzheimer's at
Fernandez stressed that
the brain is used for more than just memory. Most often, people
need to improve their attention. There are many different parts
to the brain. One repetitive activity will not help your brain.
Individuals must do several different brain exercises to decrease
their chances of getting Alzheimer's.
Forty years ago, there
were no fitness clubs. People now have exercise machines at their
home. The brain is part of the body. It is a muscle that requires
frequent exercise to keep it working properly.
Watch what you eat. Choose
healthier foods. Remember to do an adequate amount of physical exercise.
Manage your stress. Exercise your brain. Learn new things, incorporate
variety and increase the difficulty of your activities. You could
be adding years to your life.
For more information,
or the Alzheimer's