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Feb 9, 2012

Healthy Living explores memory loss

Not all Memory loss is normal! In fact, it can be a sign of Alzheimer’s, a disease that is typically tied to genetics and aging.  But diabetes, hypertension and high blood pressure can be added risks to dementia. Healthy Living also found out that Alzheimer’s can worsen over time.

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Having difficulty with our memory is usually an anticipated side effect of aging. However, when memory loss starts to disrupt daily life then it may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s, a physical disease affecting the brain. Changes within the brain cells cause severe damage which hinders the normal transmission of messages within the brain.

Dr. John Sosa, Neurologist

John Sosa

“Alzheimer’s basically is dementia. Dementia meaning that you lose your faculties, for memory for thought processing for language what we call higher cognitive functions, you lose some of those. Alzheimer’s is a dementia previously called senile dementia; it is an illness of the brain. Most people would come in because they have memory problems. There is a percentage of people who have memory problems who are just stressed out or anxious and they get memory problems. There are people who have true memory problems but not Alzheimer’s we call it mild cognitive impairment. These are people who the majority will never have Alzheimer’s. But they have problem with short term memory. And of that percentage of people we’ll have some who will have Alzheimer’s.”

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease; which means it worsens over time.  While, aging and  genetics account for a percentage of those who develop Alzheimer’s; our lifestyle choices play a large influence as well.

Dr. John Sosa

“A curious thing happens with Alzheimer’s, a portion of Alzheimer’s is genetic a small percentage, less than ten percent so most people have low genetic progress. Alzheimer’s is related to having diabetes that is uncontrolled, high blood pressure – hypertension, being obese. Having high cholesterol, high triglycerides, you have factors that are influencing Alzheimer’s.  At age 60 more or less is when the problem will start and you get progressively more people having the older you get. The curious thing is when you reach like 85/90 what we call the prevalence and the incidence of Alzheimer’s go down.”

Persons who’ve experienced head trauma are also at risk. Women, due to the fact that they live longer, are more often diagnosed with Alzheimer’.  Dr Sosa urges both patients and their families to be aware of the changes that will occur. Treatment involves medication to subdue side effects but there is NO cure for Alzheimer’s as the damage to the brain cannot be undone.

Dr. John Sosa

“Initially with Alzheimer’s they’ll recognize their people…so if you forget people you’re in an environment where everything is strange, if someone goes away and come back they’re a stranger to you. So people react because they are in strange environment with a stranger and so they get aggressive and that’s another part of the illness. For the patient and for the family things happen that are not so nice. The person basically starts to lose his memory, starts to lose the way he thinks, he can’t do things for himself eventually, little things, bathing, washing, brushing teeth, eventually the patient becomes very dependent on the family. So what happens to that family, firstly there’s a cost, you have to go to the doctor, get medications to prevent all sorts of stuff, anxiety, depression, psychosis cause these patients have hallucinations. You need to give them things to help with their diet. It’s a big cost to the family. Time is very important, eventually they will totally dependent and of course medication…the medication is expensive…the time to care for them.”

Researchers worldwide have continuously looking for ways to effectively treat or cure Alzheimer’s.  In the meantime though, Body and brain care is a tool for prevention. Dr Sosa’s advice is to make healthier lifestyle choices and exercise the brain.

Dr. John Sosa

“We can try to help our diabetes help, our hypertension, help our obesity, you don’t over drink, try to avoid concussions, head traumas take your vitamin E which can help you because there is a hypothesis that oxygenated stress can cause some problem with Alzheimer’s. To reduce your bad oxygenated problems, you use antioxidants and things like that you tell people to do. You exercise you keep buys and read & write because highly educated people seem to get Alzheimer’s much less… read a whole lot you kind of help yourself.”

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