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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Aug-Sept 2012
1 Eat a diet rich in omega-3s (good fatty acids). These are essential for brain health. Eat plenty of oily fish, walnuts and linseed, and look for omega-3 fortified foods such as eggs, breads and breakfast cereals enriched with soy and linseed. Dr Itsiopoulos 2 Get moving! Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and stimulates the brain’s growth, as well as reducing the risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, known to increase the risk of dementia. Dr Sealey 3 Socialise, learn new hobbies or play games. Engaging in stimulating and challenging mental activities can reduce your dementia risk. Dr Hatherly 4 Visit www.mindyourmind. org.au or download BrainyApp for free on iPhones and iPads. Alzheimer’s Australia » 34 | www.probussouthpacific.org HeAltH Memory loss is not just a simple part of ageing, and Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can strike at surprisingly early ages. By simone mcClenaughan WHAt is demeNtiA? Forgetting where you left your keys could be more than just ageing. While the odd memory blank is actually a normal part of life, frequent memory loss isn’t. It’s a disease, and a fatal one. “Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are diseases, not a normal part of ageing,” stresses Dr Chris Hatherly, National Research Manager at Alzheimer’s Australia. Dementia is an illness that slowly destroys the brain, affecting intellect, rationality, thinking abilities, problem solving and social skills, and causing the most well-known symptom: memory loss. Nearly 280,000 Australians have dementia; 16,000 of those are aged under 65 and have a form of the condition called Younger Onset Dementia (YOD). Although it’s relatively uncommon, YOD can strike people in their 30s, 40s and 50s. While just one per cent of 65-year-olds have dementia, the odds of getting it increase dramatically after that age. By the time you’re 85, there’s a 25 per cent chance of having the condition. By 2050, almost one million Australians will have dementia. Dementia is the third highest cause of death in Australia, behind heart disease and stroke. “Most people don’t realise dementia is a fatal condition,” says Dr Hatherly. People with dementia also make up well over 50 per cent of people living in residential aged care. WHAt is AlzHeimer’s diseAse? Alzheimer’s disease in the most common form of dementia, accounting for 50-70 per cent of cases. Other causes of dementia include vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and dementia caused by Parkinson’s disease. “The diseases such as Alzheimer’s that lead to dementia basically kill more and more brain cells until the brain starts to malfunction,” says Dr Hatherly. “A toxic chemical substance called amyloid beta builds up inside brain cells until they die. As cells die, the brain starts to lose its ability to send messages to the body, so proper functioning deteriorates and the symptoms of dementia start to emerge.” REducE youR RiSk Memory game
Active Retirees June-July 2012
Active Retirees Oct-Nov 2012