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Medicine & Health Education
Essential Therapeutic Life Style Changes
For a Healthy Body, Mind and Spirit
Some Simple Steps to Uplift the Physical, Mental and Spiritual Health
Bala N. Aiyer, M.D.
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Part - 11
 
 
PART - 11: CAUSES OF MEMORY LOSS AND DEMENTIA - Sec. 2
 
 
 
 
Several Reasons for Confusion in Thought Processes

11.01. Important factors leading to Dementia.

The primary cause for dementia is damage to the brain cells, especially in the frontal part of the brain. Popularly when we hear about Dementia we discuss about a specific disorder called Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's Dementia becomes evident a little early, around 55 - 60 years of age but sets in much earlier. This disorder is due to accumulation of a substance called amyloid in the brain cells - called as amyloid plaques/deposits; in addition it damages the nerves in the brain - called as neurofibrillary tangles. It is very difficult to prevent this from happening. But, the more common form of dementia that occurs in the elderly age-groups of people in a majority of cases is caused by poor blood supply to the brain - referred to as Little Strokes. This type of dementia is termed as Multi-Infarct Dementia or Vascular Dementia or Fronto-temporal Dementia. Just as heart attack is caused by circulation problems of the heart, clots or Cholesterol obstruction causing occlusion to blood flow in the blood vessels of the brain are the sources for this disorder. We should therefore adopt similar procedures to prevent this. In addition to this, any cause that leads to restrictions to the energy supply and nutrition to the brain cells also will cause deterioration of the brain cells.

11.02. The variety of determinants that lead to dementia.

We will now examine the antecedents for Dementia. Brain cells get all their nutritional supplies and energy from Glucose only. Also it needs plenty of oxygen for it. It does not have any back-up supply from any storage mechanism or alternate paths for this. Those having diabetes suffer from an inability to use and control the glucose levels in their blood circulatory system which includes the brain also. Often, the use of medication to control the glucose level may lead to fluctuations of Glucose levels. This will cause depletion of the vital fuel for the brain. In many cases, people suffer from a low level of glucose, especially in the early morning hours, around 3 A.M. To 5 A.M. This damages the brain cells and may lead to fainting or loss of memory in early stages. When this low glucose becomes a regular feature, this will lead to Dementia over a period of time. Hypertension may also lead to improper blood flow to the brain causing Dementia.

11.03. Several factors for developing Dementia that can be prevented

(a) Diabetes prone individuals should take proper diet, insulin and other medications to ensure a correct level of glucose in their blood stream. They may to take their allowed Calories of food in their meals as small portions several times a day. Diabetes is not only a disease of high blood glucose seen in blood tests but also it consists of the bodies inability to regulate the level when glucose level goes low. All these factors can cause tissue damage which is more pronounced in nerve cells and nerve fibers both in the brain and also all over the body.

(b) Similarly, those suffering from high blood-pressure [hypertension] should have their regular check-ups to take proper medicines. They must take the medicines in proper time to keep the blood pressure under control. All blood pressure medicines may cause several side-effects in many individuals, but that should not be a reason to stop them without consulting their own personal physician and getting proper medical advice.

(c) The next reason for dementia could be dehydration of the body. Exposure to hot sunlight could reduce the water content of the body. Aged people do not take much water. At the same time their kidneys may not function properly and will have excess urination. They may be answering the calls of nature during night as much as they do during the day. The presence of diabetes also adds to the passing of water. They may get dehydrated especially in early mornings. Some of the hypertension medicines may also cause dehydration. Drinking water alone will lead to depletion of salt.

(d)
A lot of people reduce their intake of food; especially elderly people do not take adequate food. Due to this there is deficiency in supply of proteins and vitamins. Adequate quantum of vegetables, fruits, and milk and dairy products is essential, especially for vegetarians who get their Vitamin B-12 from milk related products only. The deficiency of this vitamin will affect the nervous system as well as the brain. Partaking of proper diet is therefore essential.

(e) Sedatives, sleeping pills, liquor and tobacco smoking are further enemies of human health. To overcome sleeplessness, consuming alcohol, sedatives, or pain-killers with sedatives is not a solution, as they would affect the brain. This would lead to dementia. Normally, some over-the-counter medicines like Melatonin, Benadryl, and Lecithin can be used. But excess consumption of these drugs is also not advisable. One should develop getting sleep without taking any medicines. A cup of warm milk in the night might help in getting sleep. What is essential for everyone is a night of sound sleep!

 
   
   
 
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-- This is called Behavior Modification --
Essential Lifestyle Changes -- for a healthy Body, Mind and Spirit 0
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Thank You
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