The Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimers

If you have ever had a loved one suffer from memory loss, then you might attribute it to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The reality is that these two diseases are remarkably different. Both diseases are still a mystery in many ways and that is why many people often mix the two up in every day conversations.

 

Dementia

 

Dementia is a brain disorder that affects communication and performance of the daily activities such as eating or showering. It is often an umbrella term for a set of symptoms that include impaired thinking and memory. It is associated with the “normal” cognitive decline of aging as well. Yet, much of our aging population seems to have their cognitive abilities intact.

 

There are other diseases that can cause dementia such as Parkinson’s disease, Lewy Body dementia and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The majority of dementia is not inherited, but it is dependent on the specific case of dementia. Some rare causes of dementia are inherited, for example Huntington’s disease while other dementias have both inherited and non-inherited forms like with fronts-temporal dementias.

 

Alzheimer’s Disease

 

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that specifically affects part of the brain, which controls thought, memory, and language. Symptoms include impaired thought, impaired speech, and confusion. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.

 

The most important risk factor for Alzheimer’s is age. It is common in people in their late 70s and 80s. However, having a parent or grandparent with Alzheimer’s does not change your risk compared to the rest of the population. As a matter of fact, if Alzheimer’s does run in your family, it very slightly increases the chance of the later generations getting the disease. Less than one percent of all Alzheimer’s disease cases were due to genetics.

 

How are they Different?

 

Dementia patients are diagnosed with a set of symptoms where the root cause is unknown. Once a cause of dementia is found, appropriate treatment can begin. Until the diagnosis is made, the best approach is engagement, communication, and loving care. Alzheimer’s is unfortunately an irrreversible disease. It is degenerative and incurable whereas some forms of dementia can be temporary and reversible such as someone with thyroid disease or a vitamin B-12 deficiency.

 

Seeking Help

 

It is important to see a physician to be accurately diagnosed. This diagnosis can affect the type of treatment prescribed to the patient. Early detection is beneficial to both the patient and their family so that the correct treatment can begin and the family can learn more about dementia or Alzheimer’s. This will help everyone to understand the situation and find ways to cope to make it easier on everyone.

Sources

 

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=917

http://www.eldercarenet.org/information/caregiving-insights/dementia-vs-alzheimer2019s-is-there-a-difference

http://www.alzheimers.net/difference-between-alzheimers-and-dementia/

Getting Fit, Firmed, and Functional

Exercise is a part of any healthy person’s lifestyle. There are many benefits to exercising and eating right, including staying toned and fit. This includes keeping your insides healthy like your heart, kidneys, and other organs; and keeping your energy and immune system up and functioning properly. How much you exercise and what forms or exercise you do may depend on your own fitness level and goals. So why should everyone move more? How do you stay motivated to work out? Is exercising or what you eat more important to your overall health goals? What happens if you do not work out or exercise for extended periods of time? What exercises are best for you? Let’s take a further look into these very common but important questions.

 

A Lifestyle Change

 

We have all heard it before. Being healthy is a lifestyle change. It is not a diet or fad. The evidence proving the health benefits of an active lifestyle is surmounting. Even moving a little more each day can add up to a big health change. Wherever you are starting is not where you are ending when you are determined to make the changes to better yourself.

 

The hardest part about making a change is when you “fall off the wagon.” You eat three slices of pizza, a chocolate cake with your wine, or skip a work out. Do not be angry or upset about it. Just get back on the wagon and continue as if it never happened. Have a support system to hold you accountable and motivate you to get back on track as quickly as possible. Eventually, what seemed hard becomes easier to manage and your will-power grows. Before you know it, you have made positive changes to your lifestyle.

 

The Food vs. Exercise Debate

 

Which is more important? Well, the answer is they both are important if you want to be healthy!

 

According to Michele Olson, PhD, “you can lose weight with diet alone, but exercise is an important component. Without it, only a portion of your weight loss is from fat — you’re also stripping away muscle and bone density. Since working out stimulates growth of those metabolic tissues, losing weight through exercise means you’re burning mostly fat.”  Shawn M. Talbott, PhD adds to this, “as a rule of thumb, weight loss is generally 75 percent diet and 25 percent exercise. An analysis of more than 700 weight loss studies found that people see the biggest short-term results when they eat smart.”

 

You need both a healthy diet and exercise if you want to be fit, especially if you want to lose weight or maintain your current weight.

 

I Like to Move It, Move It

 

Working out and being active can help you lose weight and burn fat, lower your cholesterol and stress levels, improve your energy and endurance, and your quality of sleep. It can also strengthen your heart and muscles. Exercising combats health conditions and diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, and more. Exercising can improve your mood as physical activity stimulates your endorphins such as your serotonin levels, which is the chemical in the brain that plays a major part in mood, anxiety and happiness. It also can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

 

Motivational Factors

 

Having a support system and friends or family who will encourage you is one way to stay motivated, when making lifestyle changes. Getting friends and family to work out with you is even better! Joining an online community of like-minded individuals also helps to hold you accountable for your actions and changes.

 

Wherever you are currently with your fitness goals, it is important to evaluate and reevaluate your progress. Make little goals to obtain, for instance lose 10 pounds this month, and reward yourself with a spa day for achieving your small goal. Work towards a major goal, like lose 50 pounds total. Once you reach your main goal, go on vacation or a shopping spree to reward yourself for achieving your goal.

 

Maximizing Exercising

 

Cardio, strength training, resistance training, high intensity interval training (HIIT) can seem like a lot! But a little bit of everything may be the best thing for your overall health. Cardio helps to burn the fat but strength training helps to build the muscle. As you build muscle, it helps to burn more fat. Brisk walking or Zumba are great cardio workouts. Using your body weight against gravity with squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks helps you to get leaner faster and build strength.

 

Generally, set a goal of only 30 minutes of physical activity, daily. For weight loss or if you have more specific fitness goals, then you may need to implement more exercise into your daily routine. Start small, maybe 15 minutes for three days a week, and build up to 30 minutes or more a day.

 

Reversing the Benefits

 

Once you reach your goals, do not stop maintaining your goals. It only takes three days of not working out to start a reversal of the health benefits you acquired during the process of reaching your goals. You burn fewer calories in a day causing weight gain and an increased risk for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. It also makes your muscles and bones weak. Muscle atrophy and bone density loss is a serious issue in older adults and without physical activity, these issues are amplified. Your endurance and energy start to lack. The lethargy and listlessness you feel further dissuades you from engaging in physical activity and the vicious cycle continues. Lack of exercise also leads to a diminished sense of well-being and holds your self-esteem hostage.

 

Staying healthy is important to your quality of life, both now and in the future. If you are mostly sedentary, then even 5-10 minutes of movement a day can help reduce the risks of disease and health issues. If you are already an active person then step it up a notch to reach your fitness goals such as eating healthier. No matter what, make activity and proper eating a part of your health every day for the rest of your life.

Sources

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/30/exercise-vs-diet-for-weight-loss_n_5207271.html

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389

http://www.livestrong.com/article/377725-what-happens-to-your-body-when-you-dont-exercise/

 

 

Can Oral Health Affect Your Overall Health?

Your mouth and face are highly accessible parts of your body. They are sensitive and able to reflect internally occurring changes. The mouth is the major portal to the rest of your body and is equipped with mechanisms for sensing the environment and defending against toxins. Your mouth is also teeming with bacteria. Good dental hygiene keeps bacteria under control. However, if you do not brush and floss daily, these bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections like tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.

 

Your saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by the bacteria. Certain medications can reduce saliva flow. Oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis might play a role in some diseases while autoimmune diseases can lower the body’s resistance to infection, making oral health problems more serious. The health of your mouth, teeth and gums can affect your general health so good hygiene and regular visits to the dentist are important for your smile and your overall health.

 

Oral Health and Disease

 

Your oral health might contribute to various diseases and conditions such as endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, premature birth and low birth weight. Likewise, conditions such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease might affect your oral health. It is important for your dentist to know which medications you take, any chronic conditions from which you suffer, and if you have had any changes in your overall health.

 

An examination of the mouth and face can reveal signs of disease, drug use, abuse, harmful habits such as smoking, and your overall health status. X-rays and MRIs can provide early signs of skeletal changes that could be related to musculoskeletal and developmental disorders. Saliva and oral cells can be tested for a wide range of substances and can help to diagnose diseases.

 

Practice Good Hygiene

 

Protect your oral health by practicing good hygiene every day. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or when the bristles are frayed, whichever is sooner. Remember to schedule regular dental cleanings and checkups. Easy a healthy diet because it is it good for your body and your teeth. Limit snacks, especially sugary snacks. Avoid any kind of tobacco use.

 

The mouth can serve as an early warning system. Signs and associated symptoms can help to diagnose general health issues early and even lead to better overall health and oral health when   more extensive testing is performed. If you have an oral health problem arise, contact your dentist as soon as possible. Taking care of your oral health is a quality investment in your general health.

Sources

 

http://nidcr.nih.gov/DataStatistics/SurgeonGeneral/sgr/chap5.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475?pg=2

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning Your Allergies

Spring is a time that many start a deep clean on their house. However, sometimes the chemicals used to clean the house can be irritating to your nose, eyes, and skin. You could start sneezing and sniffling, your eyes may water and burn, and your throat and skin may get itchy. However, not cleaning is not a better solution to your allergy problems.

 

So what do you do? There are some alternatives that may or may not work for you. Using more natural cleaning products and providing adequate ventilation may help to clean out your house of nasty odors and allergens, without irritating you.

 

According to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Airborne allergies affect about 50 million people in the United States and they are increasing. They affect as many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children. Allergic disease, like asthma, is the fifth leading chronic disease in the U.S. It is the third most common chronic disease in children.

 

The most common indoor/outdoor allergy triggers are tree, grass, and weed pollen; mold spores; dust mites; cockroaches; and cat, dog, and rodeo dander. There is no cure for allergies but you can manage them with prevention and treatment. Cleaning your house is one way to help prevent your allergies from flaring up.

 

Steps to Spring Cleaning for Allergies

 

This list is designed to help make your spring cleaning easier. It helps to cover all areas of your house that could be hiding the allergens that most affect you. Who would think to wipe down walls and baseboards? What about cleaning behind and under your kitchen appliances? Spring cleaning is a DEEP clean. Let us start with the general rules of cleaning for every room.

 

  1. Pick up everything on floors and put away in their appropriate areas.
  2. Open windows for some ventilation.
  3. Start with the highest points (ceiling fans, tops of doors and window frames) and work your way down.
  4. Dust furniture with a damp rag including your fan blades and lights.
  5. Spot clean furniture using baking soda and water or liquid castle soap and a damp rag.
  6. Wash blankets, sheets, and towels.
  7. Clean lamps with a damp rag and an all-purpose cleaner.
  8. Wash windows and window sills with a 50/50 Vinegar/Water solution.
  9. Blinds can be washed in the bathtub with vinegar and water or some old rags and straight white vinegar.
  10. Wipe down electronics and screens with microfiber rags. Do not use any chemicals on them.
  11. Wipe down walls and switch plates as well as doors and door handles with a damp rag.
  12. Clean floors with a cup of vinegar in a gallon of water and a wet mop.

 

Room Specific Steps

 

In the bedrooms, you may want to remove clothes from drawers and wipe the drawers down on the inside. This also allows you to go through your old clothes and donate what you no longer want. You might also decide to hang pillows and mattress pads in the sun for 2-3 hours to remove bacteria and air them out.

 

The bathrooms are another great place to organize cabinets and closets. Wipe down the shelves and inside the cabinets with a damp rag and all-purpose cleaner. You can scrub the shower and tub with a vinegar and water solution. If you have trough scum then a homemade scouring powder may be the best bet to clean the mess.

 

Clean the outside of the toilet with hydrogen peroxide and inside with vinegar and baking soda and a brush. Use the 50/50 Vinegar/Water solution to shine the mirrors and windows. The countertops and sink can be cleaned with an all-purpose cleaner. If your grout is stained, use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.

 

The kitchen can also be reorganized and drawers wiped down the same way you did the bathroom. Even the inside of your refrigerator can be cleaned this way. You can also wash the cabinet doors and knobs with an all-purpose cleaner. Wipe down your appliances and clean the inside of your oven with a baking soda and water paste.

 

Pull appliances away from the walls and clean under them with a vinegar/water solution. Dust the refrigerator coils as well. The inside of your dishwasher can be cleaned by running empty with a bowl of vinegar. The sink can be cleaned with a wet rag and undiluted vinegar.

 

The laundry room is a place that is generally neglected. You can repeat many of the items listed above. Wipe down your washer and dryer with a wet rag and all-purpose cleaner. Wash the inside of the washing machine by removing the inner part and washing it in the sink. If you have a high efficiency washer, then the procedure may be different. Remove the dryer lint trap and wash with dishwashing liquid to remove any film. Wipe down all the walls, baseboards and other surfaces to remove dust.

 

Do Not Use Vinegar On…

 

Vinegar is great at removing stains, freshening laundry, cleaning windows, and more. It is inexpensive and all natural. But it is also acidic, which means there are certain items you should not use vinegar to clean.

 

  1. Granite and Marble Countertops – Vinegar can etch natural stone. Instead use a mild liquid dish detergent and warm water.
  2. Stone Floor Tiles – Similar to countertops, acidic cleaners can etch the stone. Clean with a special stone soap or dish detergent and water.
  3. Egg Stains and Spills – The acidity in vinegar can cause the egg to coagulate, making the egg more difficult to remove.
  4. Iron – Vinegar can damage the internal parts of the iron. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your iron.
  5. Hardwood Floors – Vinegar could possibly damage the finish. Use a cleaner specifically formulated for hardwood. If you need to use vinegar due to your allergies, then always dilute it with water and test it on an inconspicuous spot first.
  6. Certain Stubborn Stains – Grass stains, ink, ice cream, and blood do not come out with vinegar alone. Treat these stains with a preach stain remover and launder with a detergent with enzymes.

 

These simple steps can get your house the deep clean that you want and need to keep your allergies at bay.

 

Sources

 

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a20505/dont-use-vinegar-cleaning/

http://www.aafa.org/page/allergy-facts.aspx

http://wellnessmama.com/4733/cleaning-checklist/

Protect your Skin: Beware of the Sun

It’s getting to be that time of the year again. You’re bringing the grill out of the garage, trying on new bathing suits and sitting at the poolside, as the sun bakes you to a golden brown. Even with all the great benefits we gain from the sun, there are also some negatives. While it’s good to work on that summer tan, being careful about receiving too much sun is a must. It’s easy to get caught up in the summer fun, but it’s also easy to get too much sun, which could possibly cause skin cancer.

Fortunately, there’s always ways to prevent skin cancer. You could lock yourself indoors for the duration of the summer months. Or you can enjoy the great outdoors, while exercising some simple tips. Read on to see how you can still enjoy the sun without constantly putting yourself at risk.

Make sure to get a check-up

This sounds easy and it is. Before you go into the sun, visit your local dermatologist and have your skin examined. It’s a painless procedure that could turn into a life-saving visit. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer across the United States, but it is also one of the most preventable. While it’s extremely helpful to go to the doctor for a check-up, it’s something that you can do just as easily yourself as well.

When you’re in the shower, examine those freckles and brown spots. Do they look normal? Are they symmetrical? Are they a different color from one another? Depending on the answers to these questions, it might be time to see your dermatologist. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, but when caught early, there’s a 99 percent cure rate.

Moisturize, moisturize and moisturize

You can never wear enough sunscreen. It’s true. Depending on how fair your skin may be, this is a chance for you to moisturize with as much sunscreen as possible. Summertime may be when the sun is at its most intense; however it is recommended that you wear sunscreen year-round. This is especially important for those who work outdoors and typically have more than a couple hours of exposure to the sun. Sunscreens with an SPF of at least 15 are highly recommended. Peak hours to be especially mindful of are between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Leave a shirt on

When you have a high risk of getting sun burned and your complexion is already pale, sometimes getting “a little sun” just isn’t worth it. If this is the case, leave a shirt on at all times, especially during the peak hours.

 

Sources:

 

Summer Tips to Prevent Skin Cancer

http://news.health.com/2013/05/26/as-summer-approaches-experts-offer-tips-on-preventing-skin-cancer/

 

Skin Cancer Prevention

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/skin-cancer/basics/prevention/con-20031606

 

4 Simple Habits for an Improved Lifestyle

It’s no secret that taking care of your health can lead to a longer life and a happier life. The daily race to take care of work and family and still have a little fun in the off hours can leave you feeling exhausted and run down.  More than ever, people are reporting that they feel exhausted during the week. A recent Virgin Pulse report indicated that 76% of over 1,000 interviewed employees feel substantially tired many days of the week.  If you are struggling to make some lifestyle changes to improve your energy, health, and happiness, the good news is that several small habit changes can lead to big results.

Get the sleep you need

There is no such thing as catching up on lost hours of sleep and the National Sleep Foundation reports that many adults simply aren’t getting enough hours. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night, with women generally needing a bit more than men. Not getting enough sleep can impact health severely, affecting everything from insulin regulation to weight gain to stress modulation. Emotional and mental illnesses such as depression may also be adversely affected by too little sleep. With today’s digital world, it’s often very easy for adults to work later and relax in front of the computer, on the phone, or watching television before bed. These activities can increase brain activity and make sleep harder and more fitful.  Instead, ditch the electronics and keep work out of the bedroom. Settle into a routine that allows you to get seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night without needing to hit the snooze button five times in the morning.

Keep yourself hydrated

Everyone has heard the old adage that you need eight glasses of water a day and that the human body is made up mostly of water. Unfortunately, as annoying as these adages are, they are based in truth. Keeping your body hydrated allows your brain and body to function at its peak. Doctors recommend six to eight 10-ounce non-caffeinated beverages per day to help stave off lethargy, aid in digestion, and help keep your brain working at its highest power.  For those who want more flavor than plain water, consider mineral waters, herbal or green teas, or adding a simple slice of lemon or lime. Drinking plenty of water can also help you keep the pounds off. Many people mistake dehydration for hunger so before you reach for another cookie, try another glass of water first.

Exercise away the blues

In addition to helping manage obesity, diabetes, and a host of other physical ailments, exercise can greatly improve both your physical well-being and your mood. Doctors recommend at least twenty minutes of exercise per day for improving the well-being of your heart and cardiovascular system. This doesn’t mean you need to hit the gym for two hours and start a weight lifting regimen. A simple walk, jog, bike ride, or short workout can have the same overall health benefits as a more intense workout, particularly for an adult simply trying to stay active and fit.

One of the main benefits of exercise, however, is mental.  Exercise allows the body to burn off stress hormones and improves levels of dopamine and other “happy” hormones.  If higher impact exercises aren’t feasible, consider stretching and yoga. Duke University studies indicate that adults engaging regularly in yoga and stretching exercises reported a 40% decrease in their depression levels at the end of six months. Yoga increases the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain – a neurotransmitter that, when absent, has been linked as a cause of depression. The simple process of focusing, stretching, and exercising the body can have vastly beneficial effects on the brain and emotional state.

Make smarter food choices

No one is suggesting that a container of French fries can never be part of a meal, but choosing the right foods can help you stay active and energetic. Instead of loading up your diet with carbohydrates and fats, consider switching out choices for foods that are higher in lean protein, vegetables, and fruits. Even adding a single serving of vegetables to each meal you eat can help improve your feeling of fullness, provide necessary nutrients, and improve your overall health.

The timing of your meals is just as important as what you eat. Consider starting your day with some lean protein – a high energy food that will get you going in the morning.  Carbohydrates in the morning take longer to break down and then break down into simple sugars which can leave you feeling the “crash” as your energy levels taper off. Eating smaller amounts every few hours may also help keep your energy going throughout the day.  When you don’t eat for long periods of time, your metabolism goes into “starvation” mode, trying to save calories.  Eating smaller amounts, more frequently, keeps your metabolism moving, your energy up, and your body working at its best ability.

For those looking for mood-boosting foods, dieticians recommend a varied and healthy diet that is rich in protein and omega-3s.  A study in Nutritional Neuroscience also indicated that decreasing the amount of processed foods in your diet may help boost your mood.  Choose whole grains over processed carbohydrates. Whole grains help stabilize blood sugar which helps stabilize brain neurotransmitter secretions, improving your energy, attention span, and emotional well-being.

You can do this

So, if you’re healthy and just looking to improve your lifestyle and overall health, making a few simple changes to your diet, exercise, and sleep can help keep you in good health and a good emotional state.  For adults suffering from depression, obesity, or other illnesses, these elements are even more critical to maintaining a healthy, happy lifestyle.  With a little planning and working in some small, new habits, you can be on the way to a healthier, happier, and more energetic you.

Sources:

http://connect.virginpulse.com/asleep-on-the-job-report-from-virgin-pulse.pdf http://www.everydayhealth.com/sleep/101/how-much-sleep-do-you-need.aspx http://www.everydayhealth.com/pictures/healthier-aging-during-menopause/#05 http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/therese-borchard-sanity-break/yoga-a-natural-antidepressant/ http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/depression-pictures/healthy-foods-boost-mood/ http://www.everydayhealth.com/lifestyle/things-nutritionists-stay-slim/