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It’s been calculated that one in three people born today will die from dementia, with experts predicting one million people in the UK will be affected by the disease by 2030 1.
A diagnosis of dementia can be heart-breaking for sufferers and family members. Race Against Dementia Day in January aims to raise money for dementia research. In support, this blog will look at the reasons dementia develops and how you can reduce your risk.
Despite its prevalence, dementia is not an inevitable consequence of ageing; it will only occur due to a combination of underlying imbalances. By understanding some of these root causes and putting them right you can decrease your or a loved one’s risk of developing this distressing condition.
Dementia is an overall term describing a decline in brain function impacting memory and communication and making daily activities difficult. It can be caused by many different factors, including Alzheimer’s disease, probably the best-known cause of dementia.
Your brain is an amazing organ, containing an estimated 100 billion nerve cells constantly communicating with one another and helping you to remember, learn and think. These nerve cells are connected to their neighbours by trillions of connections called synapses.
The nerve cells in your brain are constantly being repaired, with old and unwanted cells and other debris cleared away. Sometimes, this cellular cleaning service can’t keep pace with the speed of damage. When this happens, damaging compounds build up in and around brain cells, blocking the communication between them and impairing their function.
New synaptic networks should constantly be formed, but with impaired brain cell function, connections are destroyed faster than they can be replaced. Eventually, brain cells become so damaged they can no longer be repaired, and they die.
Many factors can damage brain cells, including latent infections, toxins and nutrient deficiencies, but one of the major factors is chronic inflammation. This reduces energy production in the brain and damages brain cells 2.
One of the most important considerations when supporting a healthy brain is to reduce uncontrolled inflammation and put out the fire in your brain. The following suggestions all help to reduce inflammation and provide your brain cells with the nutrients they need to function.
Many people feel helpless when faced with a diagnosis of dementia, but it’s not a hopeless situation. Understanding the metabolic dysfunctions underlying the causes of the decline in brain function in dementia means you have the power to influence and control its progression.
Although it’s never too late to adopt healthy lifestyle habits, establishing them before the symptoms of cognitive decline appear can help delay the onset of this distressing disease.
Your therapist will assess your personal circumstances and recommend functional tests to highlight imbalances causing problems with your cognitive health. Armed with this information, you’ll be supported with healthy lifestyle and nutritional protocols to help protect your brain function.
Would you like to improve your brain health to help prevent dementia or get support if you are already a sufferer? Then book a free 15-minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you.
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