The Onset of Alzheimer's - Can it Be Stopped?

Is it possible to slow down the degenerative process caused by Alzheimer's disease? We review the early symptoms and measures to help slow its progression.
The Onset of Alzheimer's - Can it Be Stopped?

Last update: 11 June, 2021

Alzheimer’s disease has been diagnosed more and more in recent decades. Initially, a person with early Alzheimer’s may experience mild confusion and trouble remembering some things.

Then, over time, they may begin to forget important people in their life. They may even suffer drastic changes in their character. For sure, this condition wreaks havoc on the patient and their family members. For this reason, many people wonder whether it may be possible to slow down the degenerative process that begins with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Alzheimer’s?

The brain acts as the body’s control center. It interprets internal and external stimuli and transmits orders that generate responses. In this way, it’s responsible for controlling all the body’s functions; feeling thirsty, walking, standing, remembering, and speaking, among many others.

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative neuronal disease that involves numerous symptoms of dementia. The term “dementia” refers to a group of brain disorders that cause the loss of intellectual and social skills.

Among these abilities are cognitive ability and memory, as detailed in a guide to the disease published by the Queen Sofia Foundation Alzheimer’s Center.

As we age, neurons wear out and die, which causes the decline of many brain functions. As a result, older adults are more vulnerable to dementia.

However, although it’s generally associated with aging, dementia can also affect young people with risk factors. According to a study published in Cell, these factors include genetic alterations, neurodegenerative conditions and even inflammatory disorders. All of these can lead to unhealthy aging.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer's disease: an older man holds his head with one hand.
Alzheimer’s involves several stages; it’s a progressive neurodegenerative disease.

As this degenerative process advances, many patients exhibit a marked change in their daily behavior and character. The Alzheimer’s Association–AA–has created a list of The 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s. In this list, they detail the most common symptoms seen in patients, such as:

  • Memory problems which make daily activities more difficult
  • Difficulty resolving simple problems
  • Difficulty carrying out normal routine tasks
  • Loss of spatial or temporal awareness
  • Difficulty interpreting images
  • Problems with written or spoken language
  • Putting objects in strange places and similarly, struggling to find things
  • Difficulty in making decisions or loss of good judgment
  • Loss of motivation
  • Changes in mood, behavior, or personality

The causes of Alzheimer’s

man with alzheimer's disease

Unfortunately, there is still no consensus among scientists about the main causes of Alzheimer’s. However, in addition to aging, the following risk factors are included in a guide called Basic Information on Alzheimer’s Disease published by the AA.

  • Bad eating habits.
  • Overweight, diabetes and high cholesterol.
  • Smoking, alcoholism and a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Heart problems, such as high blood pressure.
  • Consumption of toxic chemical substances, such as narcotics.
  • Family history of the disease; in this case, the chances increase if more than one family member has had it.
  • Little or no social activity, leading to progressive brain decline.
  • Brain damage caused by accident, trauma or disease.

Is it possible to slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s?

When we talk about slowing down the onset of Alzheimer’s, the general aim is to prevent the advance of symptoms or to slow it down. It may also be possible to prevent it by limiting risk factors.

Below, based on the risk factors mentioned above, we list changes in habits that will help to take care of you mind and body. Keep in mind, however, that these lifestyle changes can’t replace medical treatment under any conditions.

  • Follow a balanced diet, avoid overeating and empty calories.
  • Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes a day, as recommended by the WHO.
  • Watch your weight in order to prevent overweight and heart disease.
  • Consume foods containing vitamin C and antioxidants.
  • Try to drink alcohol in moderation (or better still, avoid it completely). Don’t smoke and don’t consume toxic substances.
  • Reduce stress levels with activities such as meditation and yoga.
  • Take time to relax and have fun.
  • Sleep eight hours a day and look to have good quality of sleep.
  • Maintain healthy relationships and positive environments.
  • Take care of your self-esteem and avoid negative thoughts.
  • Seek counseling when necessary.
An elderly lady caresses her son.

The onset of Alzheimer’s should be supervised by a doctor.

Beyond the keys to prevent the advance of Alzheimer’s mentioned above, the advice and guidance of a physician is essential from the moment the first symptoms are detected.

In fact, a preventive visit to a doctor is also a good idea. This provides a chance to modify habits that, in the doctor’s opinion, could speed up the cognitive decline of the brain.

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