What We Can do to Prevent and Slow Neurodegenerative Disorders

The longer we live, the more prone we become to neurodegenerative disorders. Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s are among the most common, yet any illness involving the progressive death of brain cells can be categorized as neurodegenerative.

Language problems, disorientation, and memory loss are some of the most frequently discussed symptoms. However, there are other signs, albeit more subtle, that can help us catch these disorders early on, so we can be better prepared and even help slow their progress.  

As with all degenerative conditions, time is key, and there is a lot more we can do if we notice their onset symptoms, which can be as generic as social withdrawal, depression, or frequent mood swings. And although it feels incredibly saddening to watch our loved ones fade away, science is moving fast toward finding a cure. For now, these are the pillars of healthy aging that the scientific community agrees on:

  1. Exercising

Physical activity is crucial to retaining a youthful brain. Both aerobic and strength training have been found to improve cognitive and emotional health, as well as the quality of our sleep. Frequent exercise can help us retain mobility, balance, coordination, and notion of space. 

  1. Socializing

As we grow old, we are bound to start losing friends and family. However, it is very important to stay in touch with people our age who know what aging is all about. If you have someone in your life that is reaching old age, encourage them to stay active, make new friends, and do as many activities with them as possible. 

  1. Enjoying time in the sun

Provided that we use sunscreen and protective clothes, walking or simply sitting under the sun is perfectly safe, and it can help us relax and sleep better. It is not uncommon to see older adults staying inside all day. This is not good for their health, as it can contribute to depression and disorientation, also known as sundown syndrome. 

  1. Eating healthy foods

It is not all about deprivation. While it is true that excessive sugar and fat can bring about a lot of health issues, it can be disruptive and confusing to completely change an elderly person’s diet. It is much better to focus on offering new healthy treats, to stimulate their taste and calm their appetite. 

  1. Learning

Learning new languages is one of the best ways to prevent the degeneration of our brain. The more languages you speak, the less likely you are to experience memory problems. Learning, in general, is associated with increased neural plasticity, which is the ability of neurons to recover after an injury. 

  1. Music and painting 

Music is a great way to connect with people in general, but even more so with people with dementia. It can put them in touch with their emotions, making them feel happy, or even moving them to tears. Likewise, painting has amazing benefits for our fine motor skills and general coordination. 

It is also worth noting that even though these illnesses are typically associated with old age, they can also occur in early adulthood. But there is no need to panic, just take action. Overall, the best thing we can all do is stay active. Keep learning, exercising, and enjoying time with our friends.

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