Dementia – Your Mind Matters.

In recognition of Dementia Action Week, it’s a good time to reflect on the importance of a healthy mind and brain function. The mind is powerful. It’s a neurological network of connections. These connections control our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. When the mind is healthy it’s easier to generate positive thoughts. A happy mind helps us enjoy life. It also helps us to calmly cope with any problems that pop up along the way. Try as we might to lead a healthy lifestyle, there are some illnesses that affect the brain that can happen to anyone.

Dementia - Your Mind Matters

Dementia

Dementia is a common term describing the symptoms of illnesses which affect the brain. Dementia is a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills, and physical functioning. Today, there is an estimated 459,000 people in Australia living with dementia. There are also nearly 1.6 million others who are involved in the care of someone living with dementia.

Early Signs of Dementia

We’ve all experienced walking into a room and briefly forgetting why we went there. This doesn’t immediately conclude we have early signs of dementia. As well as having difficulty remembering, there are other early signs. These may include a decline in language, communication, focus, and reasoning. A change in mood is also common with dementia. So is confusion, difficulty following storylines, and a loss of interest in hobbies or activities.

Diagnosing Dementia

There are other conditions that cause symptoms similar to dementia. Stoke, depression, and vitamin deficiencies are just a few. To ensure a correct diagnosis, a consultation with a doctor is crucial. Medical tests may identify a treatable condition, or confirm the presence of dementia. An early diagnosis of dementia allows more time for future planning. Financial matters can be sorted, and arrangements made for long term care. It also encourages people to focus on what’s important and  spend time doing the things they enjoy.

Reducing the risk of dementia

As for the causes of dementia, there is still much to learn. There are more than 100 diseases that cause dementia. One of the most common diseases is Alzheimer’s disease which causes the brain cells to waste away. Whilst dementia does not discriminate, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of dementia. It’s important to look after your heart, body, and mind. It’s never to late to modify daily routines to reduce the risk.  Eat a balanced diet. Maintain a healthy weight. Increase physical activity. Stop smoking and limit alcohol. Maintain healthy sleep patterns. And, keep your brain stimulated, you can teach an old dog new tricks!