health

Vascular dementia stages: 7 things you should know

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The human brain is the most complex yet intricate organ of human body. It is operating one of the richest blood vessel networks and is highly vulnerable, too. Many diseases can target the brain and take a toll on your cognitive skills.

Vascular dementia is the 2nd most prevalent type of dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease being the first. Every 20 out of 100 people living with dementia have vascular dementia.

In case of vascular dementia, your thinking ability deteriorates with a stroke. It obscures major blood vessels that end up in the gradual breakdown of cognitive abilities. Initially starting off with mild changes, but the disease worsens gradually. Multiple minor strokes affect smaller blood vessels making tracks towards cumulative damage.

Considering the upsurge of this disease at present, here are seven things you need to know about stages of vascular dementia:

Vascular dementia stages

Health professional have split vascular dementia into different stages. It aids them to identify the progression and severity of the disease. Subsequently, they can figure out the best treatment approach and signify possible changes to patients and their family.

An increasing number of health professionals are of the opinion that this disease should be termed “Vascular cognitive impairment” instead.  This term better conveys the idea of gradual deterioration of thinking skills ranging from “mild” to “severe.”

It has seven stages; each stage deteriorates the memory and mental capabilities. The first stage is called MCI or mild cognitive impairment. It occurs after a mini-stroke or a series of mini-strokes. More severe strokes, that come about later on, can cause advanced vascular dementia. These strokes can have damaging effects when they block the blood vessels for an extended period.

Reduced blood supply to the brain deprives it of oxygen. A lack of oxygen supply to the brain for extended duration eventually results in a tragic impact on the patient’s physical and cognitive capabilities.

Symptoms

The symptoms rely heavily on the part of the brain that is affected. The duration of vessel blockage determines their severity. The symptoms are evident if they occur immediately after the stroke. Blurred thinking and reasoning skills of the patient after the stroke are called “post-stroke dementia.”

An evident deceleration of thought process takes place with a series of ongoing strokes. Following are the reported symptoms in the cases of vascular dementia:

  • Concentration problems
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty in making decisions of daily affairs
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Frequent urination urge or inability to pass urine
  • Agitation and restlessness

Why does it happen?

As discussed earlier, obstruction of blood vessels is the prime cause of vascular dementia. Certain conditions catalyze the onset of these blockades.  Common conditions that activate vascular dementia are:

Infarction (Stroke): Strokes, either silent or apparent, results in the blocking of brain arteries. It may cause vascular dementia. As the number of strokes increases, the risk of vascular dementia intensifies. The type of vascular dementia that crops out of multiple strokes are known as, “multi-infarct dementia.”

Chronological vessel damage: Syndromes that inflict prolonged damage to blood vessels can also lead to vascular dementia. These conditions are brought about by aging, abnormal growth of blood vessels, hemorrhage, diabetes and high blood pressures.

Diagnosis

Since the mild symptoms are prone to be ignored, experts recommend professional screening with brief tests to evaluate memory, thinking and reasoning skills. In the case where the screening finds an alteration, it is vital to conduct a detailed assessment. The appraisal process of vascular dementia includes:

  • A thorough medical history
  • Assessment of independent function and daily activities
  • Acquiring information from a family member
  • Neurological examination to interpret the operation of nerves, reflexes, movement, balance, coordination, and senses
  • Lab tests of brain scanning and blood samples

Risk Factors

Several factors may increase the probability of dementia in certain individuals. Generally, the risk factors for vascular dementia are similar to those of heart disease and stroke. These risk factors include:

Age:
The risk of this condition multiplies twice for every five years after 65 years of age.

History of heart attack and strokes:
If the patient has had the history of heart attack, it is quite possible that blood vessels in the brain have been affected. The brain damage that results in post-stroke increases the risk of dementia.

Abnormal aging of blood vessels:
When deposits of cholesterol and multiple plaques stay back in the arteries, they narrow down the blood vessels. Ultimately, the blood flow to the brain reduces, and the brain is deprived of proper nourishment.

High cholesterol:
Increased levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) can also cause vascular dementia.

High blood pressure:
The higher the blood pressure, the more stress it puts on the blood vessels. It raises the probability of vascular troubles in the brain.

Diabetes and obesity:
Damage in blood vessels due to high glucose levels or being overweight can elevate the risk of vascular dementia.

Treatment

As yet, there are no medications that are proven to reverse the impact of vascular damage and counter the impacts of the condition. Sometimes, the patients are prescribed to use drugs recommended for Alzheimer’s patients.

Prevention

The absence of absolute treatment drugs if taken into consideration, it turns out that prevention is the best way to beat vascular dementia. Controlling the risk factors is the best strategy. There is a substantial proof that treatment or control of risk factors helps to postpone further decline.

One has to learn how to live with the condition. It involves non-drug treatments, support, and activities. The affected person should consult their physician to figure out some ways of keeping their disease under control.

The prevention plan may involve getting regular physical exercise, quitting smoking, keeping cholesterol under control, controlling diabetes levels and maintaining healthy blood pressure.

Conclusion

People who have vascular dementia pass through its stages at varying speeds. If there is a detection of one or few of its signs, the person should go for a detailed assessment at its earliest. Early diagnosis can lead to a better prevention plan and ensures a healthy living for a longer time.

Why You Should Have A Pet Companion In Your Golden Years

Why You Should Have A Pet Companion In Your Golden Years

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No matter your age, having a pet is an amazing experience. However, if there is a group of people who can benefit from the company of a furry friend the most, it would certainly be seniors. Pets provide companionship, motivation and various health benefits.

Pets Lower the need for Pain Meds

There is a variety of different scientific studies that show positive impact pets have on human health and wellbeing. One of these studies found that as little as 15 minutes spent with an animal can reduce pain perception. Pets boost our body’s natural painkillers, endorphins, which help people suffering from chronic pain feel less pain and take less medication. Additionally, just taking care of another living being can offer ample distraction from the pain.

Pets Lower Blood Pressure

Why You Should Have A Pet Companion In Your Golden Years

In a recent scientific study, scientists actually proved that having a pet lowers blood pressure in their owners. Sitting and petting an animal has strong therapeutic effects. It lowers stress levels and blood pressure and provides a pleasant tactile feeling. It’s just like therapy, both for the owner and the pet!

Dogs can Notice Health Changes

Some pets have very sensitive noses and can smell many health changes even before the owner feels them. For instance, some dogs can sense irregular blood sugar levels from their owner’s breath and can alert the owner. Other dogs can sense when their owner is having a seizure or an anxiety attack. This ability is especially useful for seniors who live alone and have health issues.

Dogs Encourage Physical Activity

One of the biggest advantages of having a pet, especially a dog, is the exercise factor. Getting a dog that needs regular walks is a great way to help senior owners go out of the house and get some physical activity. Even taking a few steps when taking them outside for a potty break will make a difference in their physical and mental health. My grandma now takes her pooch outside every day, sometimes just to the yard, sometimes for a longer walk, but she never misses a day to get some exercise, sun and fresh air. There are even some seniors who started a small dog walking business that provides them with ample exercise, sense of usefulness and earns them some extra money.

They Help Create Routines

Why You Should Have A Pet Companion In Your Golden Years

A pet of any kind requires a lot of attention and it is the happiest and healthiest when it has a strict schedule. For instance, dogs have to have regular potty breaks and cats need at least two meals a day, and these routines should be tightly scheduled. Seniors will also benefit from having a routine like this, which is another reason for older people to have a pet.

Pets Encourage People to Take Better Care of themselves

Having a pet to take care of certainly affects the way we think and care about ourselves. Seniors with pets are known to take much better care of their own health as well as their pets’. For instance, when my grandma’s dog got diagnosed with having an extremely sensitive stomach, she started feeding him only holistic Black Hawk dog food. Eventually, It got her reconsidering her own eating habits. If their pets have to follow a certain health plan or eat certain healthy foods, seniors will more easily accept that they also have special needs and specific health requirements. Pets can also improve mental sharpness, so seniors with pets are actually less likely to forget preparing a meal, drinking enough water and taking their meds on time.

Social Benefits

Why You Should Have A Pet Companion In Your Golden Years

Pets also promote social interaction, which is something many seniors lack in their lives. Dogs are naturally friendly and social, and they can spark the interest of their owners to seek company as well. For instance, some people tend to have “coffee dates” with their pets and go out to town. Others regularly take their dogs to a local dog park and use to opportunity to chat and exchange pet experiences with their fellow dog owners. People who take their dogs to obedience classes have a weekly opportunity to meet new and interesting people and pets. This is a great way to go out, get some fresh air and meet people with similar interests. Pets are amazing conversation starters!

Pets make us Laugh

Dogs and cats can be very silly and joyful and their playful nature can affect human behaviour and mood. Their behaviour can be very contagious and brighten even the gloomiest of days, especially for seniors who experience depression and anxiety. Nothing can put a smile on my grammy’s face like her pup running around the house!

Pets Prevent Loneliness

Pets also provide company to their owners, especially those who live alone, are house-bound and have little social interaction. Every pet owner will tell you that they have a strong bond with their dog—almost all of them talk to their pet, confide in them and feel at ease knowing they are not alone. Some big dogs can also provide great protection and send any intruder on their way.

If you’re searching for a furry companion for yourself or a senior in your life, know that you’re making a great decision. Pets offer so many physical, emotional and social benefits that will make the golden years even more pleasant.

Eating Right: What The Science Says

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Proper and healthy nutrition is one of the most important issues of the modern man today. Human health, productivity and mood are directly conditioned by the diet that is applied on a daily basis. A man today, on the one hand, is accustomed to the accessibility of a large number of diverse foods, and on the other hand, stimulated by a quick lifestyle, believes that everything that is on the market is a healthy and useful food. But the truth is hidden far behind. The still-famous Greek doctor Hippocrates said: “Your food will be your cure.” After decades of research, modern medicine has come to the conclusion that the cause of man’s diseases is the food they eat or the one he does not eat.

If we want to stay healthy we should be familiar with the basic principles of proper nutrition. Prerequisites for proper nutrition are the supply of sufficient food and a balanced amount of healthy eating.

Adopting the principle of proper nutrition is usually not easy because the habits acquired are difficult to change, but the adoption of healthy habits is the price of a healthy life!

The goal of balanced nutrition planning is to achieve energy and biological value and nutrition structure that promotes health and prevents illness.

Eating Right: What The Science Says

There is no Perfect Recipe

There are many possible and different ways to eat healthily – there is not a perfect recipe, a plan and a program that is ideal for every person. What is often forgotten is that healthy eating does not just mean avoiding unhealthy food, but it also means consuming the other, healthy, to a greater extent. Therefore, it’s not just about giving up. Perhaps the bigger challenge is to eat all this varied healthy food so that we can provide the nutrients we need.

Common Sense

More or less we all know the basic things about healthy eating, even if we may not completely abide by them. The problem with modern eating theories is that they often refer to science, and in fact offer completely false and confusing tips that mostly go against common sense. Indeed, when in magazines, on the Internet and television, we begin to listen to the convincing explaining of such and similar things, we begin to doubt ourselves and think that perhaps we do not know enough about nutrition.

Scientific vs Alternatives Recommendations

Eating Right: What The Science Says

To name just a few that have been presented as “scientific knowledge” for decades, and which have led the generations to eat wrong: margarine is good and butter is not good, it is necessary to eat refined vegetable oils, avoid fats and replace them with carbohydrates, milk and dairy products are not good and similar. On the other hand, today’s “alternatives” in nutrition popularize some recommendations that have no basis in science or in practical experience: that cereals are harmful to human consumption, that gluten should be avoided, that only raw foods are healthy and similar. How to deal with all this?

  1. Rational nutrition is a resonance between the amount of food consumed and the amount of food consumed for appropriate processes in the body such as thermoregulation, internal organs, physical activity, and others. Thus, a deviation from this balance leads to insufficient or too rich diet, nutrition and rational means at the same time taking foods that are less expensive, but equally worthy so that does not diminish the nutritional value of food.
  2. A balanced or moderate diet is another principle that represents the optimal amount of nutrients. It must neither be overabundant nor insufficient, not only in the energy sense but also in terms of the intake of vitamins and minerals and other nutrients. Overly or insufficient nutrition can lead to various disorders and as a result, many diseases can occur.
  3. Various and mixed nutrition is very important and includes two concepts: food groups and types of meals. During the day it is necessary to take food from all 7 groups: cereals, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and legumes, fats and sugars. Due to the richness of our and foreign cuisine, of course, if possible, dishes should be diverse and without frequent repetition.
  4. Equilibrium of the diet (daily rhythm of the meal)

It is necessary to take more meals with smaller food amount during the day. It is especially wrong if we take the entire amount of food in one meal! In this way, the digestive organs and the whole organism are weighed down.

Eating Right: What The Science Says

What are the Ideal Nutritional Measures?

  • Carbohydrates should make about 45-65% of the daily caloric intake. The body prefers them as a source of energy. They are found in plants, but also in dairy products.
  • Proteins: 10-35%, important for tissue construction and body regeneration. They are found in animal products, legumes, and stone fruits as well as in protein supplement snacks sourced by True Protein, for instance.
  • Fats: 20-35%, they are about twice as caloric than the previous two, but depending on the type and quantity they are necessary and healthy. Fats are found in oils, dairy products, meat, stone fruits.

Of course, this does not mean that you need to eat fries and bread the most, and a little less sausage and bacon!

Healthy food does not have to be expensive and packaged well! It’s important that it has as little additives as possible and to be as natural as possible! Therefore: eat everything and eat moderately.

That is what a healthy diet is all about!