HealthBeat This month’s feature topics are
Senior Living/ Alzheimers & Yoga
HealthBeat September: Senior Living/Alzheimers & Yoga
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opportunity for you to reach a health-conscious audience of readers. Next Month’s Topics: Chiropractic & Dental Health
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10 early signs of Alzheimer’s disease
Change plays a big role in the aging process. As adults age, both their minds and bodies undergo changes. The changes associated with aging are not uniform. Some people may experience small changes as they inch toward and ultimately pass retirement age, while others may undergo changes that affect nearly every aspect of their lives. Cognitive decline is the type of age-related change that can have a dramatic impact on a person’s life, affecting his or her ability to live independently. A general term used to describe symptoms associated with a decline in memory or thinking skills such as judgment and reasoning, dementia is often mistaken as a normal part of aging. However, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America notes that dementia-related illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease, are not a normal part of aging. Because many people associate memory
loss with aging, they may be compelled to accept some of the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s as mere byproducts of growing older. However, the Alzheimer’s Association urges men and women to report any of these 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s to their physicians the moment they’re noticed. Family members who notice these signs in their relatives also should report them to their loved ones’ physicians. 1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life: Examples of this symptom include forgetting recently learned information; forgetting important dates and events; and asking for the same information over and over. 2. Challenges in planning or solving problems: Someone exhibiting this symptom may have trouble following a recipe or paying monthly bills. 3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home at work or at leisure: Forgetting the rules of a favorite game or experiencing trou-
ble driving to a familiar location are some examples of this symptom. 4. Confusion with time or place: People with Alzheimer’s lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. 5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships: Some people with Alzheimer’s have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. 6. New problems with words in speaking or writing: Difficulty joining or continuing a conversation and calling things by the wrong name are some examples of this symptom. 7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps: People with Alzheimer’s sometimes put things in unusual places and
then cannot retrace their steps to find those things. 8. Decreased or poor judgment: Poor judgment and decision-making often affects people with Alzheimer’s. 9. Withdrawal from work or social activities: People with this symptom may begin to withdraw from favorite activities or avoid being social because of the changes they’re experiencing. 10. Changes in mood and personality: Mood changes affect people with Alzheimer’s, who may become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious. Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease at www.alz.org.
HealthBeat September: Senior Living/Alzheimers & Yoga
The various health benefits of yoga Health-conscious individuals can do many things to improve their overall health. As medical researchers continue to uncover new things about how to achieve optimal health, one practice dating back to ancient times remains a highly effective way to take care of the human body. Though there’s no written records regarding the origins and invention of yoga, the practice is believed to date back to ancient India. The earliest written record of yoga is “The Yoga Sutra of Pantañjali,” a collection of aphorisms that historians believe was compiled sometime between 500 BCE and 400 BCE. Despite its age, yoga has not been studied extensively by medical researchers. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), many studies looking into the health effects of yoga have included only small numbers of people and have not been of high quality. As a result, the NCCIH can only say that yoga shows promise in regard to helping people manage or
overcome certain health issues, but not that it has been proven to do so. Though yoga may need to be studied more closely and extensively, many people who include it in their regular health care routines report feeling better both physically and mentally for having done so, and that may not be a coincidence. A 2004 comprehensive review of yoga’s use as a therapeutic intervention published in the Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology indicated that yoga targets unmanaged stress, which has been linked to chronic disorders like anxiety, depression, obesity, diabetes, and insomnia. In addition to that review, the NCCIH notes that research has suggested yoga can: • Relieve low-back pain and neck pain • Relieve menopause symptoms • Help people manage anxiety or depressive symptoms associated with difficult life situations • Help people quit smoking • Help people who are overweight or
obese lose weight • Help people with chronic diseases manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. It’s important that anyone considering making yoga part of their health care routines recognize that there are various forms of yoga, some of which are more physically demanding than others. So it’s best if individuals speak with their physicians before trying yoga so they can find the type that aligns best with their current levels of fitness.
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