June is recognized as Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. The recognition is meant to increase awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease and the resources available to support those affected by the disease. Recent studies have shown connections between sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the development of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. While these studies may be viewed with fear and alarm, we consider them a call to action.
As we know, TBIs are a very real threat in the lives of our military heroes. While we work hard to treat these injuries, we also want to make sure we’re sharing information relevant to TBI sufferers and non-sufferers alike to ensure they have all the facts. Here are a few things everyone can do to stay healthy and decrease the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
We’ve mentioned before how important Omega-3’s are for brain health. Omega 3’s contain what is known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It’s believed that increasing the intake of DHA can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. DHA helps minimize the development of beta-amyloid plaques and pieces. These beta-amyloids can block cell-to-cell signaling, which prevents memories and information from traveling throughout the brain, which leads to Alzheimer’s disease. Omega-3’s can be found in fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, as well as chia seeds.
Stress is a constant for many regardless of age or situation. It’s important to de-stress regularly, because carrying around stress is unhealthy. Studies show a correlation between stress early in life, and the development of the aforementioned beta-amyloid which contributes to Alzheimer’s disease. How can a person de-stress? Start by keeping relaxation activities a constant in life. Schedule time to take a calming walk, regularly practice yoga, and consider implementing inner peace rituals such as meditation and/or prayer.
This is another big one that applies to everyone. A good night’s sleep goes a long way to immediately impacting a person’s day-to-day health. However, the impacts of sleep deprivation have long term consequences too. Not only does sleep deprivation affect long-term memory and concentration, it also affects short term memory, thinking, immune system, balance, and blood pressure. In short, lack of sleep can seriously affect a person. In addition, like high levels of stress, lack of sleep can increase the production of beta-amyloids. Though easier said than done, this solution is purely to get enough sleep. How much? The Centers for Disease recommends adults 18-60 get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, and adults 61-64 and 65 and up get 7-8 and 7-9 hours of sleep respectively.
Following simple steps like these will keep your brain healthy which benefits all around health and can help to prevent illness. For more information on how the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund helps heal our heroes through our Intrepid Spirit Centers click here.
Posted on June 4 2018 in Blog