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Dementia, Alzheimer's, Stroke, Parkinsons care

Cognitive & Neurological Wellness

The quality of your life depends on the quality of your brain.

Dr Daniel Amens

Dementia & Parkinsons

Dementia is a significant health issue in Australia. It's estimated that over 460,000 Australians were living with dementia in 2021. This number is expected to increase as the population ages. The risk of developing dementia increases with age. It is more common in older adults, and the prevalence rises significantly in people over the age of 65. 

Stroke affects 50 000 people each year in Australia, leaving behind it physical and mental disabilities that can be an enormous emotional, social, and financial burden.

Taking care of your health while you are as young as you will ever be again, has never been so important as now. 

Dementia is a significant health issue in Australia. It's estimated that over 460,000 Australians were living with dementia in 2021. This number is expected to increase as the population ages. The risk of developing dementia increases with age. It is more common in older adults, and the prevalence rises significantly in people over the age of 65. 

 

Dementia not only affects individuals but also has a profound impact on their families and caregivers. Providing care for someone with dementia can be emotionally and physically demanding, in itself leading to an increase in acute and chronic illness in caregivers, with depression being high on this list. 

Dementia & Alzheimer's

Cognitive decline and dementia are conditions that involve a gradual loss of a person's independence and abilities, often affecting quality of life and productivity on all levels. Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, is a growing problem and is the second leading cause of death in Australia. It affected 30 million people worldwide in 2014, and this number is expected to double by 2025. Despite its widespread impact, the exact cause of Alzheimer's is still considered unknown in the mainstream, which means it is hard for people to know what to do once the creap of brain decline begins.

Dementia, as described by experts, involves several significant cognitive problems that can interfere with a person's social and work life. These issues include memory loss and other difficulties like language problems, trouble executing tasks, problems recognizing objects or people, and issues with decision-making. Dementia can worsen over time or remain stable, depending on the type.

There are different types of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia (often linked to poor blood flow to the brain), and other forms caused by various medical conditions like infections, head injuries, and certain diseases. Substance abuse or exposure to toxins can also lead to a specific type of dementia.

Dr. Dale Bredesen has proposed that Alzheimer's disease can be triggered by three main factors: inflammation, a lack of essential support for brain health, or exposure to toxins. Based on this idea, he has identified three distinct types of Alzheimer's disease, each with its unique characteristics and risks.

Type 1: Inflammatory - Inflammation in the brain is linked to Alzheimer's, and specific genes can promote this condition. Inflammatory substances like NF-ƙB and TNF-α can contribute to the production of harmful beta-amyloid plaques and hinder their removal. Beta-amyloid can also trigger inflammation, creating a harmful cycle.

Type 2: Atrophic - Alzheimer's disease can also result from a lack of essential support for brain health. Factors like insulin resistance, high homocysteine levels, and hormonal imbalances can reduce neural plasticity, contributing to Alzheimer's development.

Type 3: Toxic - Exposure to toxins, including heavy metals and mycotoxins, can cause another type of Alzheimer's disease. Mycotoxins, in particular, are linked to a range of symptoms, such as chronic sinus infections, pain, and numbness. These toxins can be associated with certain genetic factors and exposure to water-damaged buildings.

It's essential to understand these different types of Alzheimer's to develop effective treatments and interventions for this challenging condition.

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is a condition that affects how our muscles work, which can impact our ability to move, speak, and maintain balance. It's often recognized by symptoms like tremors, muscle stiffness, slow movement, and sometimes, a loss of movement. These symptoms occur because of issues with a brain chemical called dopamine. Parkinson's is a long-term and progressive disease that tends to affect people around age 60 or older. 

 

Common signs of Parkinson's disease include:

  1. Tremors, especially when the limb is resting.

  2. Stiff and rigid muscles.

  3. Slower physical movements.

  4. Difficulty maintaining balance and increased risk of falls.

  5. Shuffling walk and small steps.

  6. Bent-forward posture.

  7. Painful muscle contractions, often affecting the foot and ankle.

  8. Speech and swallowing problems, like soft speech and drooling.

  9. Trouble with fine and gross motor skills.

  10. Involuntary eye blinking.

  11. Memory issues.

  12. Constipation.

  13. Sleep disturbances.

  14. Dementia.

 

There is an emerging link between the development of Parkinson's disease and life exposure to pesticides, chemicals and toxins. It is proving to be higher in people who worked on orchards, farms and in industries that expose their workers to inhalant chemicals and toxins. If you have had exposure to chemicals and toxins in your life, the sooner you address your body burden, the better your chances will be to sidestep a chronic degenerative illness such as this.

It's important to remember that while Parkinson's disease is a chronic degenerative disease of the brain and nerves that gets worse over time, early treatment, interventions and management can make a significant difference in the speed of decline, and the quality of a person's life (and that of their family's).

 

As with everything, the earlier you start incorporating holistic therapies into your life, the better.

Surgery & Delirium

Going into surgery is more taxing on your body than running a marathon. You want to be healthier than you've ever been before you hit that table, and your body needs all the resources for tissue repair and energy production in place at least a month before, so that the acute healing phase can be efficient and effective, in my opinion. 

The inflammation and stress caused by surgery is terrible for the brain.  

Surgical delirium, also known as postoperative delirium, is a temporary state of confusion and cognitive disruption that can occur after a surgical procedure. It is characterized by a sudden and fluctuating change in a person's mental status, often involving disorientation, confusion, memory problems, and difficulty focusing or paying attention. Surgical delirium typically develops within the first few days after surgery and may last for several days to weeks.

Key points about surgical delirium include:

  1. Causes: The exact cause of surgical delirium is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from a combination of factors. These factors may include the use of anesthesia, the surgical stress response, changes in sleep patterns, pain, medications, and underlying medical conditions.

  2. Risk Factors: Certain individuals are at a higher risk of developing surgical delirium. Common risk factors include older age, preexisting cognitive impairment (such as dementia), a history of delirium, multiple medical conditions, and the type and duration of surgery.

  3. Symptoms: The symptoms of surgical delirium can vary but often include confusion, agitation, restlessness, hallucinations, and mood swings. People with delirium may have difficulty recognizing familiar people or places and may exhibit unpredictable behavior.

  4. Diagnosis: Diagnosis is typically based on clinical observation by healthcare providers. They may use standardized assessment tools to evaluate the severity and duration of delirium.

  5. Management: Managing surgical delirium involves addressing its underlying causes and providing supportive care. This may include optimizing pain management, correcting any imbalances in electrolytes or medications, ensuring adequate sleep, and minimizing disruptions in the patient's environment.

  6. Prevention: Preventive measures can reduce the risk of surgical delirium. Strategies may include preoperative assessment and optimization of medical conditions, minimizing the use of medications that can contribute to delirium, and providing a calm and familiar environment for postoperative care.

  7. Outcomes: While surgical delirium is usually temporary and reversible, it can lead to longer hospital stays, increased healthcare costs, and complications. It can also be distressing for both patients and their families.

  8. Follow-Up: Patients who experience surgical delirium may require additional care and monitoring during their recovery. Healthcare providers may work with rehabilitation specialists or geriatricians to address cognitive and functional changes.

 

It's important for patients and their families to communicate with the healthcare team if they notice any signs of delirium after surgery. Early recognition and management can lead to better outcomes and a smoother recovery process. Nutrition, diet, lifestyle and microcurrent treatment are valuable resources to support the body's self-healing resources. 

Post-Stroke Complications

After experiencing a stroke, individuals can face various complications and challenges as they recover and adapt to the changes in their lives. Here are some common post-stroke complications:

  1. Physical Disabilities: Stroke can result in muscle weakness or paralysis, often affecting one side of the body. This can make it difficult to move, walk, or perform daily activities independently.

  2. Communication Difficulties: Depending on the area of the brain affected by the stroke, individuals may experience difficulty speaking (dysarthria), understanding language (aphasia), or both. Speech therapy can help improve communication skills.

  3. Swallowing Problems: Stroke can lead to dysphagia, making it challenging to swallow safely. This increases the risk of choking and aspiration pneumonia. Speech therapists and dietitians can assist with managing swallowing difficulties.

  4. Cognitive Changes: Many stroke survivors experience cognitive changes, including memory problems, difficulty with concentration, and changes in reasoning and problem-solving abilities. Cognitive rehabilitation may be necessary.

  5. Emotional and Psychological Impact: Stroke can have a significant emotional toll, leading to depression, anxiety, frustration, and mood swings. Psychologists and support groups can provide essential emotional support.

  6. Fatigue: Post-stroke fatigue is common and can be overwhelming. It may limit a person's ability to participate in rehabilitation and daily activities. Proper rest and pacing activities are important.

  7. Pain: Some individuals may experience pain, often in the affected limbs. Physical therapy and medications can help manage post-stroke pain.

  8. Spasticity: Muscle stiffness and spasticity can occur, making it challenging to move affected limbs. Medications, physical therapy, and sometimes botulinum toxin injections may be used to manage spasticity.

  9. Bladder and Bowel Problems: Stroke can disrupt the normal functioning of the bladder and bowel, leading to incontinence or constipation. Treatments may include medication, dietary changes, and pelvic floor exercises.

  10. Falls and Balance Issues: Stroke survivors are at an increased risk of falls due to muscle weakness and balance problems. Physical therapy can help improve balance and reduce fall risk.

  11. Blood Clots and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): Immobility after a stroke can increase the risk of blood clots, including DVT. Medications, compression stockings, and early mobilization can help prevent this complication.

  12. Pressure Sores: People with limited mobility are susceptible to pressure sores (bedsores). Proper positioning, skin care, and pressure-relieving devices can help prevent these sores. Skin healing nutrients and preventative wound care strategies are important if your loved one is confined to limited movement. 

  13. Shortening of tendons and muscle wasting

 

The extent of complications can vary widely based on the extent of damage, and the body's resources for healing. Rehabilitation, support from healthcare professionals, and a strong support system from family and caregivers are essential for managing and minimizing post-stroke complications. Early intervention is essential. The sooner you take action on body support, the better. An integrative approach is important. 

Prevention is key

The best way to work with any chronic degenerative conditions is in the arena of prevention. In my opinion, all people after the age of 40 needs to be thinking of the kind of old age they want, because most changes begin twenty years before the first symptoms become obvious.

If you've missed the prevention boat, the next best thing you can do is take action at the first sign of change. The body is always communicating, and if you ignore the whispers, you will have to deal with the yelling. The longer a degenerative condition is present, the more tissue damage occurs. The best we can do is focus on preventing further decline by supporting the body's health resources and healing intelligence. 

If you have had toxic exposures over your life - if you have been a farmer, a mechanic, a chemical user (even in the home garden), a cleaner, a plumber, a soldier - if you have been exposed to chemicals, your nervous system is likely to tell you about it right through your old age. Do something about it while you are young.

If strokes and heart problems run in your family, take prevention on with nutritional and lifestyle factors that will reduce your risk of having one yourself.

We all want to retire and live a happy, rewarding and pain free life - these days, this takes forward planning. Your health is the most precious thing you have, protect it, care for it, and don't wait till things go bad to pay attention to it. 

Different kinds of degeneration, same story - support health & cellular repair, so the body can repair itself to the best of its capacity. Start proactive health support as early as possible, don't wait. 

Working with Monica

Sessions combine the wisdom of Naturopathy and Nutrition, with the body supportive benefits of holistic therapies. Monica has been working holistically and compassionately with people for over 25 years. When it comes to chronic degenerative conditions it is important to take an integrative approach to healthcare. Working to protect your health and slow down decline in degenerative conditions, is important to improve the quality of life for everyone in the future. 

Book a free15 chat to see if we can help you feel better sooner.

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