Alzheimer’s Disease is a Progressive Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a cognitive disorder that progresses slowly over-time, and is the leading cause of dementia in the United States. The disease may progress slowly, and currently affects millions of Americans. Currently, Alzheimer’s disease makes up over 60% of diagnosed cases of dementia. The risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease include, aging, genetics, traumatic brain injury, diabetes and blood sugar dysregulation. Chronic use of some types of pharmaceutical medication, exposure to toxic substances, chronic disease, heart disease, infection, and stress are also considered risk factors.
The Risk of Developing Alzheimer’s Disease
Many people become more concerned about developing Alzheimer’s disease as they age. Namely, because the risk for developing the disease increases with age. However, we now have a fairly good idea of what the risk factors are, and even people at high risk need not fear that they will develop the disease later in life.
The Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease
The signs and symptoms of Alzheimers disease, depend on the individual. But, the disease is known to progress in predictable ways. For example, the symptoms may begin when the affected person starts to have difficulty forming new memories. And from there, it may progress to changes in speech, or a difficulty in forming words. Eventually, the afflicted person may lose his or her ability to recognize people or places. While some medications can reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, there is currently no cure.
Treat the Cause
From a naturopathic perspective, all health challenges are treated with the same systematic approach. The practitioner first begins by trying to find the root causes of the disease process. Secondly, the practitioner attempts to remove any obstacles to cure. And finally, the practitioner attempts to offer safe and non-invasive treatment options.
When it comes to treating Alzheimer’s disease, I always talk to patients about chronic disease as a risk factor. This is because we know that there are several types of chronic disease; that can increase a person’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s. For example, we know that what is good for the heart, is good for the brain. In fact, we find that when people engage in activities that are good for heart-health, Alzheimer’s disease risk falls dramatically. And we also know that, maintaining a stable blood sugar, may also helping reduce risk of developing Alzheimer’s. In fact, there is such a strong correlation between blood sugar dysregulation and Alzheimer’s disease; that we now refer to Alzheimer’s disease as, “diabetes of the brain.”
This is why, rather than fancy and expensive supplementation, I focus a lot on dietary changes with my patients. Yes, some supplementation has health benefits. But if we simply eat more nutritious foods on a daily basis, we can do amazing things to improve our health.
Because Alzheimer’s disease is such a growing concern for Americans, I have uploaded a YouTube video that further discusses some of the recommendations I make to patients. You can find that video now by clicking here.
Some Basic Diet Tips
I encourage people to maintain, a diet with optimal nutrition. The diet you choose should mostly plant based, with about 50% of the vegetables consumed raw. This is because high cholesterol and heart disease are risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Consequently, what is good for the heart, is good for the brain. When consuming a diet that is nutrient dense, minimally processed and plant-based, you are consuming a diet high in Antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances found in plants that help reduce the risk of oxidative stress and early aging. A nutrient dense diet is also high in fiber, which slows gastric emptying and decreases spikes in blood sugar, which may also help reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk. An exercise program that includes plenty of cardio, is also suggested.
While I did not cover the importance of supplementation in my video, some herbal supplements are currently being researched for their possible health benefits, like ginseng, astragalus, gingko biloba, and turmeric. I hope to address this topic at a later date