September is World Alzheimer’s Month

Dr. Kevin H. Ivory, Au.D., CCC-AAlzheimer's and Dementia

September is World Alzheimer’s Month
Dr. Kevin H. Ivory, Au.D., CCC-A

World Alzheimer’s Day is an international campaign to raise awareness and highlight issues faced by people affected by dementia. It’s an opportunity for people and organizations to demonstrate how we can overcome these issues and help people live well with dementia. Globally, dementia is one of the biggest challenges we face, with nearly 50 million people living with dementia worldwide. To fight the global challenge of dementia it is imperative to raise understanding, compassion and awareness of this debilitating condition  

Alzheimer’s disease awareness

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. An irreversible condition, Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, it eventually inhibits the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.

Alzheimer’s disease manifests itself physically as plaques and tangles in the brain. Another feature is the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Neurons transmit messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to muscles and organs in the body.

The best-known symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss but there are many other symptoms associated with the condition. Two of these are a change in social behaviors and an increase in anxiety. This aspect of the condition can cause great distress to both the person affected and their career.

Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease

Promising research shows that you can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias through a combination of simple but effective lifestyle changes.

Alzheimer’s is a complex disease with multiple risk factors. Some, like your age and genetics, are outside your control. However, there are six pillars for a brain-healthy lifestyle that are within your control.

The more you strengthen each of the six pillars in your daily life, the longer—and stronger—your brain will stay working and the more likely you’ll be able to reduce your risk of developing dementia. 

  • Regular exercise: According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, regular physical exercise can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50 percent.
  • Social engagement: Staying socially engaged may even protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in later life, so make developing and maintaining a strong network of friends a priority.
  • Healthy diet: By adjusting your eating habits, however, you can help reduce inflammation and protect your brain.
  • Mental stimulation: Those who continue learning new things and challenging their brains throughout life are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
  • Quality sleep: New research suggests that disrupted sleep isn’t just a symptom of Alzheimer’s, but a possible risk factor.
  • Stress management: Chronic or persistent stress can take a heavy toll on the brain, leading to shrinkage in a key memory area, hampering nerve cell growth, and increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. 

Treating hearing loss can lower risk of Alzheimer’s

Multiple studies have found links between hearing loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. But something as simple as a hearing aid could have a huge influence on healthy brain function. Over 6 years, cognitive abilities (like memory and concentration) of people with hearing loss declined 30 – 40% faster than in people with normal hearing. Hearing loss is also linked to increased stress, depression, bad moods, and increased hospitalization and fall risks.  That means untreated hearing loss is a much bigger problem than one may think. Three main theories for why hearing loss might increase the risk of cognitive decline and dementia include:

  • Cognitive load: If the brain is constantly coping with sounds that are difficult to hear, it’s busy processing those sounds and can’t spend energy on things like memory and thinking.
  • Brain atrophy: Hearing impairment could contribute to faster rates of wasting away in parts of the brain that process sound.
  • Social isolation: People who have a hard time hearing often withdraw from social activities because it’s so hard to communicate with other people. Many studies have found that decreased social engagement and loneliness are risk factors for cognitive decline. 

Glendora Hearing Aids

Acknowledge World Alzheimer’s Month with us Glendora Hearing Aids this September.  If you suspect you have hearing loss, it’s never too early to get your hearing tested.  Contact us to set up a hearing test so you can know for sure if a hearing loss is present and start preventing Alzheimer’s now.