According to the World Health Organization, 47.5 million people suffer from dementia. With almost 10 million new cases diagnosed each year, dementia-related disorders like Alzheimer’s steal the lives, relationships, and economic potential of those it touches.
What is Dementia?
Dementia does not refer to a specific condition. It is a spectrum of brain diseases that result in deterioration of various cognitive functions.
- Learning capacity
Dementia is caused by damage to the brain cells. Unhealthy lifestyle choices, genetics, and certain neurological conditions contribute to its development.
- Traumatic brain injury
- The use or abuse of certain drugs
- Abnormal thyroid functions
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Persons affected by dementia disorders may display the following behaviors.
- Inability to control emotional responses
- Memory loss that negatively impacts daily life
- Depression and anxiety
Dementia and Diet
Dementia has been linked with a lack of certain nutrients, like B12. The brain needs a steady supply of fatty acids, including omega-3s. The modern Western diet of highly processed convenience foods often lacks the nutritional value needed for a healthy brain.
- A recent study has linked the consumption of diet sodas with an increased risk of dementia-related disorders
- Processed grains found in white bread, pasta, and sugar causes inflammation, a leading factor in dementia development.
- Nitrates found in lunch meats, hot dogs, and other high-sodium processed meats are linked with higher dementia rates.
If Your Family is Affected
If you think your loved one may be suffering from a dementia-related disorder, getting medical attention quickly can significantly increase their quality of life. Have them visit their primary care physician. To diagnose a dementia disorder, doctors must be able to document at least two impaired neurological functions, such as language skills and ability to focus. The diagnosis may require a range of cognitive and neurological tests, brains scans, blood tests, and psychological evaluations.
Once your loved one’s dementia diagnosis is confirmed, your family will need to make plans for their long-term care. The Franklin United Methodist Community offers assisted-living facilities for those affected by dementia-related disorders. Our residential services include comprehensive, long-term memory care. We will help your loved one live their fullest possible life while keeping them safe and comfortable.