Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Freedom from Alzheimer's Disease

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday has nothing to do with politics or patriotism and yet it does.  Freedom from Alzheimer’s disease can help us maintain our ability to remember our love for our nation as well as our capability to help maintain our liberties.

                My husband’s mother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for approximately ten years.  All of us were heartbroken to lose our relationship with her and the opportunity to enjoy her happy and joyful personality.  We cared for her body, but she was not really there.  Since my husband has relatives on both his paternal and maternal sides of the family who have suffered from this disease, he is very much aware that he could get it and is affected very much by this knowledge.  I would like him to be free of this concern.

                While caring for my mother-in-law, we spoke with many doctors.  We learned there is only one sure test for Alzheimer’s disease, and it takes place during an autopsy when the brain is examined.  Imagine my joy when I recently came upon a test, which measures one’s “brain age” compared to their chronological age.   This test helps doctors to assess the person’s risk for dementia and other memory loss disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.  You can take the test at this site.  

                I took the test and was very conservative in my answers.  I marked a question about exercise false because I do not exercise the amount of time required even though I do some exercise.  Other questions I marked false were about diet because my life does not quite fit the answer even though I am very close.  There were several questions where I could change my answers very easily and have a younger brain age; however, as I answered the questions I learned that my “real brain age” is the same as my chronological age.  This means that I have a mild risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  This does not mean that I will always have this “diagnosis” because I still have time to make some changes in my life that will help lower my brain age.  I just have to do some more work in the four main areas that affect our brain age:  diet, exercise, mental stimulation, and rest/relaxation.

                The D.E.A.R Program explains these four steps in detail and gives this overview of the program:  “While modern medicine is well regarded for developing new drugs to prevent and reverse chronic health problems, it has become quite clear in recent years that change in diet and lifestyle habits might provide more effective, much safer, and less expensive methods.  Comprehensive studies in the field of neurology have determined that unhealthy diet and lifestyle habits can significantly increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementia diseases.  Conversely, eating a healthy diet, eliminating unnecessary stress and accentuating your brain’s reserve can delay and possibly stop Alzheimer’s and many other health problems.

                “While the American Academy of Neurology warns that prevention of dementia should begin before age 65, I strongly advocate starting this process much earlier, as young as age 30, to prevent this horrific disease from wreaking havoc on your brain.  The benefits are numerous.  You could add years to your life, improve the quality of your life, and general physical and mental health.  The longer you can be independent and self-sufficient, the better quality life you will have….”

                I suggest that all of us could benefit from living healthier lives.  I certainly would feel better if I received adequate sleep every night, and I certainly would enjoy more opportunities to relax.  These are both areas where I need to improve.  I encourage you to take the test to learn your “real brain age” and then look at the four step program to see where you could do something differently and improve your chances of staying healthy in your older years.

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