My father always has the same prayer on his birthday.
He wishes God would never give him a long life without health.
I used to be sad hearing it, it’s as if my father doesn’t want to live long.
I told him I will still care for him even if he is sick, so he shouldn’t pray like that.
He thanked me but he doesn’t change his prayer.
Since then I always observe older people.
There are seniors who still be able to go to work everyday, full time.
There are seniors who still be able to spend their time carrying and babysitting their grandchildren.
There are seniors who still active in their community and constantly attending social event or still doing their hobbies.
But there are also some seniors who spend the rest of their life on the sick bed, whether at home or at hospital.They were physically sick so they couldn’t enjoy life as much as their other healthy friends.
More than that, there are also some seniors who got brain disease.
Those brain disease could root from genetic, but there are also some health problems that is caused by stress, including brain sickness.
One of them is one of the most common and dangerous brain damage for older people are Alzheimer’s Disease.
They no longer have memories and other cognitive abilities. They could no longer taking care of themselves or even remember their spouse or children.
Only then I can understand my father’s fear…
Aging is a natural process – one that can’t be resisted no matter what we do.
Aging brings along sickness and deteriorate physical abilities. As they age, people lose their sight, hearing, and stamina.
But, as they lose physical strength, they gain more experience, knowledge, and wisdom. That’s why some people considers aging as a beautiful process.
Except… sometimes other than physical sickness, people get brain disease instead. One of the most common brain disease for older people are Alzheimer’s Disease.
Do you know about Alzheimer’s Disease?
Do you also understand how some people, like my father, fear Alzheimer’s Disease?
Do you have worry about your future regarding to Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s Disease is caused by the shrinking of the brain. It could happen due to old age or genetic. But, recently, scientist found out another shocking cause to Alzheimer’s Disease: stress.
Yes, Alzheimer’s Disease now is included in the list of health problems caused by stress.
- See Also : The worst health problems caused by stress
This research confirmed the cause. In that research conducted by Machado A. and team, they apply various kind of stressors to Alzheimer’s animal model. The result shows that when the stressors are applied, there is change happening to bodily function of the model. Those bodily function change are the same with the Alzheimer’s patients.
The finding is relatively new, but many other research related to stress and Alzheimer’s Disease are already being conducted to find the best therapy or strategy to help people with Alzheimer’s Disease.
So, you don’t have to be afraid.
Here, we’ll also do our best to provide you with the best information about Alzheimer’s and other health problems caused by stress. Of course, including the solution as well.
Let’s start with understanding the very first problem….
Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s is a brain disease where the neurons in the brain degenerate or even die. The degeneration occurs progressively.
At first, one will show difficulty remembering things, even the recent ones. Then, as time goes, he or she may start forgetting not just recent activities but also forgetting language, people around them, their own identity, and even the common knowledge to take care of themselves.
In 2015, worldwide, approximately there are 48 million people with Alzheimer’s.
The disease mostly affect people over 65 years old, but there are minor cases where they are reported in people with younger age.
Alzheimer’s are terrible illness because it takes away memories. It’s painful not only for the patients but also to the family and caregiver.
Often, the family and the caregiver of Alzheimer’s patients also have a very high level of stress due to the physical and emotional exhaustion
The cause of Alzheimer’s are believed to be genetic in 70% of cases, and the rest of the cause is head injuries, depression, and hypertension.
Recently, stress is also mentioned in several research to be another factor that cause Alzheimer’s. So, Alzheimer’s now included in the health problems caused by stress.
Alzheimer’s may have changed the love that you share, but it can’t ever, will never, have the power to ever completely erase it. (Anonymous)
Alzheimer’s: health problems caused by stress
Dr. Edgardo Reich from Argentina stated in his research paper that stress is probably a trigger for initial symptoms of dementia.
During his study, Dr. Reich found out that almost 3/4 of his Alzheimer’s patients had a history of suffering from severe emotional stress during two years before the study is conducted. The emotional stress are caused by various reasons, from death of family, violent experiences, traffic accidents, financial problem, to other family member’s sickness.
He further explained how when you’re stressed, your body release cortisol, a stress hormone that regulates inflammation as part of immune system.
But when you’re continuously stressed, your body become less sensitive to cortisol. So, the cortisol can no longer control inflammation and it get out of control.
Inflammation itself is a starting point of many diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and of course, Alzheimer’s.
Too much cortisol in your blood because of stress can also be a cause for Alzheimer’s. UCI Mind showed a research that showed how patients with Alzheimer’s had abnormally elevated level of cortisol.
They decided to see whether this finding also works backward or not. So they injected rodent cortisol to healthy mice, and found out that those mice started to develop en elevated level of Ab peptide and tau protein.
Ab peptide and tau protein is a kind of protein that was found in Alzheimer’s patient’s brain. They stick together in between neurons in the patient’s brain, causing the neurons to not be able to perform normally and in the end degenerates.
Dr. Linda Mah from University of Toronto found another findings. She found out that in Alzheimer’s patient, the first brain region to sink in the area called hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex. These areas are responsible to memory, emotional response, and to regulate thinking.
Did you know?
It’s not only the Alzheimer’s patients that’s having the hard time. The caregiver of Alzheimer’s patients are also exposed to high level of stress due to the emotionally exhausting nature of this work.
According to Axona, 60% of caregivers are having high or very high emotional stress.
15% of caregivers travel long distance everyday to care for their loved one. This long distance commuting can also add to their stress level.
That’s why, a caregiver should also manage their own stress. If you happen to know one, give them appreciation and support to ease their emotional exhaustion.
And then, she also found out that stressed people also has the same problem in the same areas of brain. In both cases, where people were stressed or suffers from Alzheimer’s, those areas shrink.
It seems legit for us to conclude that Alzheimer’s is now also health problems caused by stress.
Don’t dwell on the disease. Value the moments, the pearls of wisdom, their smile, and humor. (Anonymous)
How to avoid stress and therefore, Alzheimer’s
Of course, since Alzheimer’s is also another health problem caused by stress, it is logical to avoid stress to lower the probability of suffering Alzheimer’s.
Fortunately, there are various ways to relieve stress – from the easiest to the most sophisticated techniques; from the most natural way to the most modern way. You just need to pick which one suits you the most.
There are various way to relieve stress using only your mind. Let me recommend you the easiest one: mental exercise.
Mental exercise is basically doing things that will make you think.
Everybody, pick a new subject to study. Maybe your childhood dream is to be a doctor but you never have chance to realize it? Read a book about anatomy or physiology. Maybe you want to be a psychologist? Sign yourself up to online course!
If those subject are too hard, don’t worry. There are other easier subject to learn – one that’s also more fun. For example, learning new language or new music instrument.
Nowadays, learning new language isn’t hard at all. You can do it with your smartphone with apps like Duolingo. Learning music instrument also can be done with Youtube.
If you’re not into music, learning new sport can be counted not only as physical exercise but also mental exercise. Your brain will learn about the new rules and learn to coordinate your physical movement better.
Want mental exercise that’s even more fun? You can play game! Play scrabble with your kids, learn to solve rubik cube, or fill out crosswords in the newspaper every morning.
Do you know that cooking is also a mental exercise? It is because when you’re learning new recipe, almost all of your senses are coordinated by your brain: for your sight, your hearing, your smell, your movement, until your taste. Want to exercise your brain and get a meal after that? Try to learn new recipe every week.
Activities that require fine-motor skills is also another form of mental exercise because makes your brain concentrate as you’re doing a delicate work. Knitting, sewing, and drawing are some example of these activities.
Alzheimer’s is not mental disease. It is brain disease, therefore physical exercise can actually prevent the brain cells withering and dying. This research show how physical exercise can build the part of brain that shrinks.
According to a study in Journal of Alzheimer’s Research, 150 minutes of exercise per week can improve your memory. It means – 30 minutes per day is already more than enough.
Moderate exercise is enough. You don’t have to go to the gym. Doing aerobics or yoga in your living room will do. Running or cycling around your neighborhood will also do.
You can also join a sport club like tennis or swimming and combine your exercise time with socializing time!
Remember how there are sticky protein found in the Alzheimer’s patient brain?
According to neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter, one of the culprit for them are excessive consumption of sugar, gluten, and genetically engineered grains.
Sugar is everywhere and easily found in any food available to us. So, we have to be very careful. Avoid drinking soda, processed juice, and other bottled/canned drink because they put artificial sweetener.
If you crave something sweet, look for food with natural sweetness, like honey or fruit. Recommended sugar intake is 25 grams a day.
Also, limit gluten consumption. Gluten has shown to damage brain-barrier – a tissue that prevent foreign things to enter your brain. Gluten also put protein into your bloodstream, which shouldn’t be.
Remember how in Alzheimer’s patient’s brain, sticky protein are found between their neurons. Gluten can be found in wheat, barley, malt, and rye.
Engineered grains nowadays is too common to find. They can be found in everyday groceries like bread, cookies, and even seeds and chips.
Sometimes they’re easy to distinguish. Look for product with label that says non GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) or label that says 100% organic (remember, it must be 100%).
Other times, they’re harder to check if they don’t have label. A safer bet is by buying your groceries in local farm instead of supermarket.
Beside avoiding those three ingredients, you should try to consume these food more:
Omega-3 rich food. EPA and DHA in omega-3 prevent brain cell damage that can lead to Alzheimer’s. Omega-3 also help build new brain cells. They can be found in walnuts, flaxseed, white tuna, salmon, herring, and white tuna.
Vitamin C & E rich food. This vitamins are known as antioxidants and they can clean the pollution in your brain. They can be found mostly in vegetables like red peppers, broccoli, strawberries, and blackcurrants.
Folate rich food. Folate keep the level of dangerous amino acid (protein) that impairs brain in check. Folate can be easily found in dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, and also in dried beans.
If you are faithful to this diet rule, chances are you’ll be spared not only from Alzheimer’s, but also from other health problems caused by stress like heart disease, obesity, and others.
Those with dementia are still people and they still have stories and they still have character and they’re all individuals and they’re all unique. They just need to be interacted with on a human level. (Carey Mulligan)
Start preventing from now
Alzheimer’s is dangerous health problems caused by stress that we all want to avoid.
Giving your best to prevent Alzheimer’s is a thoughtful things. People who struggle with Alzheimer’s are having a hard time, both the patients and the family or the caregiver.
For the caregiver and family of Alzheimer’s patient, we also recommend you to check one more book, The 36-Hour Day, which is a family guide to caring for people with Alzheimer’s Disease. It could help you a lot.
Now that it is known as health problems caused by stress, we can conclude that we should manage our stress also to avoid Alzheimer’s in the future, for the sake of ourselves and our family..
Mental exercise, physical exercise, and also healthy diet are the recommended way to fight stress and Alzheimer’s.
Above, we’ve shared some tricks to manage stress and prevent Alzheimer’s.
Do you find them helpful? Do you have other tricks to share?
Tell us in the comment below because we would like to hear you!