November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of people with the disease has soared to nearly 5.5 million.
Lifestyle changes can make a difference and as healthcare providers we are on the forefront of educating our patients.
We also have much research that states inflammation in the mouth causes inflammation in the body.
A team approach to prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease is how we can conquer disease in our world today. Our team approach includes a discussion with our patients about the mouth-body connection.
Studies are very encouraging as they have shown that it is easier than you think to prevent the disease. It is much easier in today’s world to keep your mind sharp and engaged as you age.
Although currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, here are some simple strategies that may help reducing your risk:
It’s important to include 150 minutes of moderate exercise each. This is the single most important thing you can do for prevention. The Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation suggests that regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing the disease by as much as 50 percent. While cardio is an important aspect of overall health, including weight training to increase muscle mass works towards maintaining healthy brain functions.
Share a Cup of Tea
Encourage your patients, family and friends to socially engage with others. It’s too difficult in today’s world of technology to sit and text our family and friends let alone, play around on social media. Time passes quickly when you are pre-occupied with technology so put exercise on your calendar. If you want to sustain healthy cognitive functions you must get out there and be with people who can stimulate your senses. When you remain socially active it becomes your defense against Alzheimer’s even later in life. And while you’re at it, make a pot of green tea to share. 2-4 cups of green tea a day has been proven to sharpen memory and slow the brain’s aging.
You can adopt simple eating habits that will improve your brain’s overall health. Put a halt to eating foods loaded with trans fats and refined sugar as much as possible. Both of these lead to brain inflammation. Be sure to include foods high in Omega-3 fats. Salmon and Omega-3 rich foods contain DHA. Omega-3 fats and DHA prevent Alzheimer’s. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, especially berries and leafy greens, which contain antioxidants that protect your brain.
Challenge Your Brain
The more obscure and unfamiliar the challenge, the better it is for your brain health. Learning something new causes your brain to create new pathways. Try reading a new book, solve a puzzle, learn to play an unusual instrument or learn a foreign language. Mental stimulation and continued learning throughout life have shown promising results in preventing Alzheimer’s.
Get Your ZZZZZZZ’s
A routine sleep schedule can help reduce memory problems in more than a few ways. Research shows that lack of sleep may actually be a risk factor in developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Sleep loss slows your ability to think, creating a negative effect on your mood, two factors that contribute to developing Alzheimer’s later in life.
Humor is one of the best ways to curb stressful situations and avoiding chronic stress is essential to Alzheimer’s prevention. Daily stress causes shrinkage in areas of the brain that cause memory loss. Stress also inhibits the growth of nerve cells. Laugh, smiles a lot and don’t take yourself so seriously.
We live in a time of expanding research and recent studies give promise to a potential cure for Alzheimer’s. Prevention is the most significant step you can take in controlling the future of your mental health. Let’s not wait until there is a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.
As healthcare professionals, let’s work together as a team and educate our patients, our family and friends about the mouth-body connection.
PROFESSIONAL PHOTO HERE ABOUT Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS
Debbie Seidel-Bittke, RDH, BS is an international dental consultant, coach, speaker and author. She is also CEO of Dental Practice Solutions. Debbie is a world-class leader in creating profitable hygiene departments. She is well-known as a former clinical assistant professor at USC in Los Angeles and a former hygiene department program director. Dentistry Today recognizes Debbie as a Leader in Dental Consulting.