What is Alzheimer’s: Symptoms, Risk Factors, Prevention and Diet

What is Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s also known as senile dementia is a progressive mental disease that gradually destroys memory and also deteriorates other brain functions. It is a common disease that effect more than 10 million people every year.

This is a common type of neurodegenerative dementia where there is the death of brain cells.

What is Alzheimer’s: Symptoms, Risk Factors, Prevention and Diet

What is Alzheimer’s: Symptoms, Risk Factors, Prevention and Diet

Following are the symptoms of Alzheimers’s:

  1.  Repeating statements and questions.
  2.  Forgetting dates, appointments even conversation and names.
  3.  Misplacing possessions and looking for them at illogical locations.
  4. Unable to express feelings or define objects.
  5.  Difficulty in concentration, reasoning and thinking.
  6.  Unable to manage different tasks at a time.
  7.  Difficulty in managing finance.
  8.  Getting lost even in familiar places.
  9. Unable to recognize familiar faces.
  10. Difficulty in taking decisions.
  11. With advance stage people even forget their name and how to perform routine tasks like brushing, bathing, going to the toilet or dressing.
  12. Depression, social withdrawal, irritation, aggression, delusion and mood swings.



Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s:

  1. Age- This is the greatest risk factor as the rate of Alziemers increases after 60 years. However, Alzheimer’s can begin at 30’s.
  2. Family history- This is the second biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s.
  3. Chronic diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, high cholesterol.
  4. History of trauma.
  5. Sleep apnea and other sleeping disorders.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, a patient’s ability to recognize food decreases, he/she losses sense of smell and taste, and all these factors results in loss of appetite. In the absence of proper nutrition health of the patient suffers and results in weight loss and other behavioral problems.

It is very important for the Alzheimers patient to eat a complete and balanced diet to boost overall health and immunity.

Risk Factor for Alzheimer's

Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s

Points to keep in Mind while Planning Diets for Alzheimer’s:

  1. Variety- Add variety and color to the food. Include vegetables, fruits and wholegrains to the meal.
  2. Add low-fat food and exclude saturated fats such as butter, ghee, meat, lard etc and cholesterol-rich foods.
  3. Eat whole grains.
  4. Lean protein food is the preferred source of protein.
  5. Processed foods and refined sugars should be cut down.
  6. Low intake of sodium and salt.

Tips that can help in Planning a Meal for an Alzheimer’s Patient:

  1. Try to serve a meal in surroundings free from distractions such as television, radio etc.
  2. Avoid dishes that are patterned, use light colors, preferably white dishes for colorful foods and dark color dish for white or light color foods.
  3. To avoid much confusion table setting should be simple.
  4. Check the temperature of the food before serving it as an Alzheimer’s patient is unable to analyze or describe if the serving is too hot.
  5. Serve one food at a time.
  6. A person with Alzheimer may take an hour or longer to finish the meal.
  7. Many a time patient forgets even after having meal so if they ask for meal give something light to eat like biscuits or shakes.

In beginning Alzheimer’s appear as simple forgetfulness, but gradually it deteriorates speech and coordination making life miserable. Your doctor may prescribe few medicines such as Cholinesterase inhibitors, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medicines to help the patient with the memory behavioral symptoms and other cognitive symptoms but there is no proper treatment of Alzheimer’s.

To some Extent a Healthy Lifestyle and Proper Selection of Foods may Prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s.

Following lifestyle modification may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s:

  1. Regular exercises- Exercise daily for about 30 minutes. Exercise releases Endorphin hormone that is a feel good hormone and stimulates the brain and slows the deterioration process.
    Regular exercises

    Regular exercises

    Mental stimulation- Try to indulge youself in activities that keep your brain active for example:
    Reading a newspaper or a book.
    – Indulge yourself in creative activities like dancing, painting, music. You can also start learning a new language or to play a musical instrument.
    -Try to solve sudoku, puzzles, riddles, card, word games and other brain teasers. These mental workouts enhance the capacity of the brain to keep cognitive associations.
  2. Proper sleeping habit- Maintain a sleep routine. Take a nap during the day to recharge yourself. Relax before sleeping by reading a book, having a bath, or doing some light stretching exercises. Do not watch television or computers before sleeping
  3. Manage stress- Practice yoga and breathing exercises to relieve stress. Have a massage or soothing bath. Give priority to your happiness and get time for things that make you happy like going for a long drive, playing with your kids or playing music. Laughing is best to exercise to eliminate stress.
  4. Diet- What you eat affects you all over health. To keep your brain healthy add foods that are good for the brain in your meals.
    Foods that prevent Alzheimer's

    Foods that prevent Alzheimer’s

  5. Foods that Prevent Alzheimer’s are as Follows:
    – Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids- Include walnut, almond, fish, seafood, flax seeds,olive oil in your diet. These foods are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and DHA that fights inflammation and is needed for development of the brain.
    – Foods rich in vitamin C, E, and A- citrus fruits, vegetables, red pepper, broccoli are rich in vitamin C, Whole grains, fish, almond and olive oil is rich in vitamin E. Yellow and red fruits and vegetables such as mango, tomato, papaya, orange, carrot contain Vitamin A. These 3 vitamins fight against free radicals and prevents the brain from damage.
    – Food rich in Flavonoids such as grape, Brussels, spinach, apple, blueberries, sprouts, cabbage, garlic, etc. Flavonoids is antioxidant and reduce the risk of Alzheimers.
    – Foods rich in folates, such as green leafy vegetables and food rich in vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 for example egg, meat, fish, dairy products keeps the level of homocysteine under check that may impair the functions of the brain.

Dr. Ritu Kumari Gupta
Dr. Ritu Kumari Gupta:  Professionally a homeopathic doctor and a dietician Dr. Ritu Kumari Gupta is passionate about writing health and parenting blogs. She believes in holistic approach towards health and well being.