June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness month.
Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disorder that develops gradually and gets progressively worse over time. It is known to account for over 60% of all cases of dementia. There is no cure for this condition though medication may help improve the symptoms and perhaps increase life expectancy to a certain extent. Early diagnosis helps victims maintain physiological and social normalcy for a longer period of time. Anyone exhibiting the following signs should be checked for Alzheimer's by a medical practitioner:
1. Memory problems - forgetfulness, especially with regard to recent occurrences (this is among the earliest signs).
2. Disorientation and confusion - might get lost in familiar places and treat familiar objects as unknown.
3. Trouble with comprehension - diminished ability to apprehend what's going on in their surroundings, ordinary activities might seem foreign to them or hard to comprehend; problems with vision may lead to impaired ability to read/judge distances/determine colors.
4. Problems with speech and writing - may begin struggling with vocabulary, unable to find the right words to reference objects or experiences.
5. Poor judgement - they may make uncharacteristic or unintelligent decisions.
6. Changes in mood and personality - many may become increasingly depressed, may become irritable and aggressive, or prone to mood swings.
7. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
8. Agitation - may become anxious, agitated due to sense of fear, fatigue or even confusion.
9. Difficulty with familiar tasks.
10. Difficulty with communicating - they may say incorrect words and call people by wrong names.
So please have the person checked by their healthcare provider if you recognize any of these signs in him/her.
Foods that may slow or prevent Alzheimer's include: spinach and green leafy vegetables, champagne, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, nuts, coffee with caffeine, dark chocolate (yum!), turmeric,cinnamon,fatty fish at least once a week, tomatoes, carrots, beets, beans, legumes, whole grains.
(All of the above information was acquired on Facty Health website).
*Awareness can help improve lives!*
**July is Ultraviolet (UV) Safety month**
As many of us know, the sun emits radiation in the form of UV light. The UVA type penetrates deeply into the skin. It's the type of UV radiation that causes wrinkling or leathering of the skin. UVB is the type of radiation that causes sunburns. Exposure to both types are associated with the development of skin cancer. So it's important to protect the skin during exposure to sunlight.
Per the American Cancer Society, 5.4 million basal cell cancers and 3.3 million squamous cell cancers are diagnosed annually. Invasive melanoma represents 1% of all skin cancers, but accounts for the majority of skin cancer deaths. So it is very important to minimize the risks that come with sun exposure:
1. Block UV light with protective clothing, including wearing a wide brim hat.
2. Stay in the shade, especially at midday between 10AM and 4PM.
3. Choose the right sunscreen and apply it correctly. Use an SPF factor of at least 15. When out in the sun, apply at least 1 ounce (a palmful) of sunscreen every 2 hours. Apply more often when sweating or swimming, even if it's waterproof (recommended by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention).
Wishing you health in mind, body and spirit - and a wonderful summer!
Lyn Florio, RN