While it is true that not all dementia is a diagnosis for Alzheimer’s, symptoms that are a result of diseases and medical conditions may eventually lead to AD (Alzheimer’s Disease). Since Alzheimer’s is irreversible, it may be prudent to get expert testing by two or more experts to see if memory loss can be diverted.
Nutrition, exercise and other lifestyle choices that lead to blood flow and oxygen starving diseases, such as stroke begin in early years. Stroke is a contributer to dementia.
Detecting memory loss risk factors
William Rodman Shankle, M.S. M.D. and Daniel G. Amen, M.D. are authors of Preventing Alzheimer’s. Shankle and Amen state that preventing Alzheimer’s will help “understand and reduce your risk factors, learn how to detect problems early, obtain an accurate, prompt diagnosis, and choose the most effective treatment.”
According to Shankle and Amen, degenerative diseases contribute to damage to neurons that can never be repaired. Over a period of time when about one third of the number of neurons decline, memory loss that doesn’t return will begin a series of dementia symptoms that can develop further into Alzheimer’s.
Vascular Dementia (VD) Syndrome and Subcortical Vascular Dementia (SVD)
According to Dr. Ralph Sacco in Dementia/Alzhiemer’s Weekly,Young America on the Road to Dementia, lifestyle habits started while young, can lead to diseases that cause dementia.
In chapter one of Preventing Alzheimer’s, Dr’s Shankle and Amen submit that “hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, tobacco smoking, excessive alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle” can all contribute to Vascular Dementia Syndrome, which can develop as early as 50 years old. 15 to 20 percent of dementia cases can be attributed to VD.
Subcortical Vascular Dementia affects small blood vessels in the brain areas below the cortex. This progressive dementia normally starts after age 50. Diagnosis for this disease is hard to pinpoint because memory loss is not consistent. Sometimes the person can remember facts even when the event occurred under stress. At other times recall is gone. If there is a drastic change in someone who formerly had good memory and recall, it may be suspect of small undetected strokes.
Prevention and maintenance of new brain cells
Research studies show that up until the age of 75, new brain cells can be used to create new memories in persons in early dementia stages. After age 75, repeat activities can be retained and memory loss delayed with exercises, nutrition, alleviation of stress and a happy lifestyle.
Everyone has occasional memory lapses when under a lot of pressure, stress or as a result of sleep deprivation. This could be the result of new cells dying as a result of not being used, disease, drug or lifestyle abuse. Total loss of recall, change in personality, loss of desire for normal activities and other concerns indicate immediate need to be tested for dementia.
Medicinenet.com WebMD live transcripts Stopping Alzheimers Before It Starts
Preventing Alzheimer’s by WIlliam Rodman Shankle, M.S., M.D. and Daniel G. Amen, M.D. ISBN 0-399-15155-9 Putnam