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Everything You Need to Know About Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

What is Dementia?


Dementia is a collection of symptoms that affect your memory, impair thought processes and adversely affect socialisation. Early symptoms are extremely mild (so hard to detect) but can progress to a degree that seriously impairs your day-to-day activities. The condition has no single cause but, in some ways similar to cancer, diabetes and heart disease, is multi-factorial

Memory loss is an important aspect of dementia. It, too, can be caused by different factors. So while memory loss alone isn't a clear indication of dementia, it's often one of the early signs.

In older adults Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause (around 60%) of progressive cognitive decline. However, there are several other forms of Dementia besides Alzheimer’s disease, and it is wrong to use them interchangeably. Thus dementia is the umbrella term we use to cover Alzheimer’s and the various other disease states that can produce the same, or similar, symptoms.

Is Dementia a Disability?


Yes: The Equality Act 2010 considers dementia a disability since it can lead to long-term mental, intellectual, physical or sensory impairments that, in combination with various other barriers, may obstruct effective association in society on an equal basis with others.

Who does Dementia affect?

The biggest risk factor is age: Dementia rates increase dramatically with age. Approximately one in 14 over-65s suffer from dementia. By the age of 80, it rises to one in six. However, it is not an inevitable consequence of ageing and can also develop in young people, albeit this is rare... Many people live well into their 90s without developing dementia.

If you have a history of dementia in your family the chance of developing the illness is far greater. Although many people with a family history never experience symptoms and many people without a family history can experience dementia: a test can determine if you have specific genetic mutations which pre-dispose to developing the disease.

People living with Downs-Syndrome are prone to develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, within their middle ages.

What are the symptoms/signs of Dementia?


Dementia can affect your mind, personality and behaviour. The symptoms of dementia differ depending on the cause, but the most common ones are:

Changes in Cognition

  • Loss of memory, which is usually detected by someone else
  • Lack of communication or difficulty finding words
  • Visual and spatial difficulties, including getting lost whilst driving
  • Inability to reason or solve problems
  • Inability to handle complex tasks
  • Inability to plan and organise
  • Inability to coordinate and motor skills are impaired
  • Disorientation and confusion

Changes in Psychology

  • Changes in personality
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Abnormal behaviour
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations

Consult a doctor when necessary


If you or someone you love is experiencing memory loss or other dementia symptoms, see your doctor right away. Symptoms of dementia may be caused by treatable medical conditions, so it's important to determine the cause.

How is Dementia Caused?


The brain's nerve cells and their connections are damaged/lost when a person develops dementia. Dementia affects people differently and causes different symptoms depending on which area of their brain has been damaged.

Often, dementia is categorised by what they “share”, such as proteins deposited in the brain or which parts of the brain are affected. It is also possible for some diseases to mimic dementia, such as those caused by adverse reactions to medication or certain vitamin deficiencies. These can be treated.

There are 5 different types of Progressive Dementias that are generally regarded as not reversible but as understanding of the root cause of Dementia grows, there’s increasing evidence that symptoms CAN be reversed, at least to some degree.

  • Alzheimer’s disease - A disorder in the brain that deteriorates cognitive thinking, motor skills, and a person’s psychology, and ultimately their ability to perform simple daily tasks.

  • Mixed Dementia – Several dementias simultaneously occurring in the brain: this is usually seen in brain scan results. In most cases, blood vessel changes (vascular dementia) and Alzheimer’s disease are the most present.

  • Vascular Dementia – Like Alzheimer’s disease this condition changes cognitive thinking, motor skills, and a person’s psychology, due to issues with the supply of blood to the brain. Symptoms of this type of dementia vary significantly based on the location, size and amount of vascular changes.

  • Frontotemporal Dementia – Several disorders happen when the nerve cells in the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes are disconnected/lost.

  • Lewy Body Dementia - A disease associated with abnormal deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits called Lewy bodies, influence the brain's chemicals, which in turn affect thinking, movement, behaviour, and mood.

Dementia can be called ‘Type 3 Diabetes’



Technically "Type 3 Diabetes" is not the term for Dementia that health systems recognise. But there are numerous pathways at the cellular and sub-cellular level in common. There is some evidence to suggest that insulin resistance contributes to amyloid plaques in the brain, inflammation, and oxidative stress.

So while “Type 3 Diabetes” is not officially classified as a form of diabetes, insulin and glucose dysregulation are found in common in other types, such as type 1 and type 2.

So “type 3 diabetes” can be described as diabetes that directly damages the brain and resulting in Alzheimer's disease, which is why people associate them together.

Alzheimer's disease is not solely caused by obesity and/or diabetes, though they may contribute to it.

According to this more recent study, the insulin-degrading enzyme may be responsible for turning type 2 diabetes into type 3 because it alters metabolic pathways. This process may cause oxidative stress in the brain as well as beta-amyloid, two conditions commonly associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Based on a study from 2020, a summary of the risk factors associated with type 3 diabetes is as follows:

A diet high in calories, sugar and processed fat. Low in fiber and thus low in nutritional value

  • High stress levels
  • High birth weight
  • Little or no exercise
  • Ethnicity and race
  • Family history
  • Genetics

The study also implies that the 3 key conditions that play a vital role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease are; impaired lipids, fat transportation and high blood pressure. On top of that holding the gene, ‘APOE4’ can inflate a person’s risk.

Podcast with Jackie Fletcher from Fabulously Keto


Jackie Fletcher is a long-term friend of ProLongevity and has progressed through our program, click here to see Jackie’s journey. Not only is she a nutritional advisor, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner with a certificate in the Ketogenic diet, but like our founder Graham Phillips she is also an ambassador for the Public Health Collaboration (PHC).

In her latest podcast on Fabulously Keto, with Graham, they discuss Alzheimer's and Dementia, and it makes for a captivating episode, so please listen, enjoy and give it a review!

Contributing variables to Dementia and how to prevent Dementia
The following risk factors for Dementia are controllable:

Diabetes

If you live with Diabetes; if poorly controlled your risk of Dementia is elevated. It is widely believed that only overweight people develop diabetes. While its true that the risk of type-2 diabetes does increase with weight, that’s by no means the full story. Take our free online diabetes risk assessment now!

Poor diet, low activity levels, and inadequate sleep are all significant contributors to prediabetes, which, if left untreated, can lead to type-2 diabetes. This affects millions in the UK and is increasing yearly. To find out more about Diabetes, please enjoy this video from The Pharmacist Who Gave Up Drugs.

Smoking

If you smoke, there is a high risk that smoking will lead to Dementia and blood vessel diseases.

Sleeping disturbances and medications
Dementia is much more likely to develop in people with sleep apnoea and other sleep disturbances.

If you do struggle sleeping please note that; using sleep aids long term should be avoided at all costs! Both Prescribed and Over-the-Counter sleep aids can worsen your memory.

Did you know multiple factors affect your sleep… for example what you eat during the day, stress levels , and your body clock! Enjoy this blog with several educational resources to help you achieve your full 8 hours.

Vitamin and nutritional deficiencies


Your risk of Dementia can be increased by a low intake of vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin B6 and Folate. Vitamin deficiencies are more common in older people, overweight people and certain ethnic minorities – all of whom are also at an elevated risk of getting extremely ill from Covid. To learn more about this, click here.

Excessive alcohol


Multiple studies have found a link between excessive alcohol use and rapid-onset dementia, this is due to the association between alcohol and brain changes. To find out how alcohol blurs your health, read this blog.

Bad Diet / Little Exercise


Dementia risks are increased when people do not exercise regularly. The research indicates that people who consume unhealthy diets and do not exercise have a greater incidence of dementia. Read more about exercise and diet in this blog.

How ProLongevity can help?


By carefully analysing what triggers your blood sugar spikes using continuous glucose monitoring, ProLongevity creates a nutrition and exercise plan that is uniquely tailored to your biology. This process of ‘Precision Nutrition’ can reduce risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, help you sleep better and drastically improve your diet; resulting in the reversal/remission of type 2 diabetes.

In just 8 weeks, we’ll guide you to a healthier more sustainable lifestyle with regular 1-2-1 coaching from qualified health professionals. There’s no calorie counting, no hunger and irritability (being ‘hangry’ as Graham says), and no strenuous exercise.

If you would like to live a longer more active life doing the things you’re passionate about, with the people you love, book a free consultation today with Graham Phillips.