I recently attended The Purple Luncheon, an event held by The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and founder Maria Shriver. While there, I learned some remarkable and notable facts, some actually quite astonishing. Here at KF, we feel it is so important to shine light on relevant and pertinent causes and issues. Alzheimer’s in women is one of these causes. Founder of WAM, Maria Shriver says it best, “Your mind is your greatest asset. It’s going to be with you your entire lifetime so the time is now to start taking care of it.” With the help of The WAM Guide we are sharing some incredible knowledge in order to raise awareness about this disease.
Every 65 seconds, a new brain develops Alzheimer’s. Two-thirds of them belong to women. A woman has a 1 in 6 chance of developing Alzheimer’s. To put this in perspective, KF’s friends helped demonstrate. Alzheimer’s begins to develop in the brain 20-30 years before diagnosis. A woman in her 60s is twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s over the course of her lifetime than breast cancer. By 2050, 14 million brains in the U.S. will be living with Alzheimer’s.
Prevention ~ Know The Signs
WAM gives us 10 major signs to be aware of and look out for in yourself and loved ones. Many individuals may experience one or more of these symptoms in different degrees, if you notice any of them contact your doctor. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure. Confusion with time or place. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. New problems with words in speaking or writing. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. Decreased or poor judgement. Withdrawal from work or social activities. Finally, changes in mood or personality.
Prevention ~ What Affects It?
Exercise for the mind and the body are equally important. Obviously moving the body helps prevent many diseases and conditions. Remember to protect your head when biking or when participating in contact sports. Mentally, challenge and train your brain. Practice mental exercising with memory and with learning something new, this keeps you sharp and focused.
What’s good for you heart is good for you brain. Just like exercise eating to prevent diseases other than Alzheimer’s can actually work to prevent it as well. Lose refined sugars and salt! Fill your plate with colorful fruits and veggies. Studies have also shown fasting 12 to 14 hours a day between dinner and breakfast improves insulin sensitivity which is key in brain health.
Sleep allows your mind and body to recharge and reboot, which is essential for mental and physical health. Your brain needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night in a temperature between 60 and 67 degrees. Chronic Insomnia leads to a quicker decline in cognitive function and perhaps an earlier Alzheimer’s diagnosis, if you think you may have insomnia, get tested to get ahead of it.
Meditation is key. It reduces stress and anxiety along with inflammation in the body. Meditation improves your memory, mood, energy and even your genes! Try to stay positive and laugh as often as you can. This seems so simple but when we get wrapped up in our day to day lives we forget to do something as simple as laugh with a loved one. Surrounding yourself with friends and family makes us happy and feel a little more at ease which is vital for mental health!
Guided meditation apps makes it so easy when meditating! There’s just no reason not to use one. It helps you focus and guides you into a seamless meditation. I use the Calm app which you can find in the App Store. It’s perfect for sleep, focus or to relax!
Join the movement! Check out The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and their website.