What Can You Do To Prevent Dementia/Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer's and Dementia

Sometimes women connect common menopausal symptoms like brain fog and forgetfulness with dementia which is a legitimate worry given the statistics. Indeed, dementia has taken over from heart disease as the number one killer of women in Australia and in New Zealand it affects over 70,000 Kiwis.

Lisa Genova

Below is a wonderful TED talk by neuroscientist Lisa Genova, the author of “Still Alice” which was made into a movie starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth and Kristen Stewart.

What’s The Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease?

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding this question but in a nutshell:

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting up to 70 per cent of all people with dementia. source

“Alzheimer’s doesn’t have to be your brain’s destiny”, says neuroscientist Lisa Genova. She shares the latest science investigating the disease — and some promising research on what each of us can do to build an Alzheimer’s-resistant brain below.


Download our sleep hygiene sheet here.

Did You Know?

  • The brain is the most complex organ in the universe.
  • It has 100 BILLION neurons (nerve or brain cells).
  • TRILLIONS of connections to other cells.
  • The human brain can process information as fast as 431 kilometres per hour.
  • There are 160,000 kilometres of blood vessels in the brain.
  • Each person has about 70,000 thoughts a day, 50 per cent in words and 50 per cent in images.
  • While awake, a human brain can generate enough energy to power a light bulb (between 10-23 watts).
  • It’s a myth that we only use 10 per cent of the brain. A loss of 90 per cent of its function would likely result in being a vegetable or being dead.
  • We need and use all our brain – although we aren’t using every single neuron at every moment.
  • When the brain is healthy you have more brain reserve. This protects you from developing dementia BUT diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity can hurt the brain and increase your chances of getting dementia.

Source: Amen Clinics

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Post-menopause


This is the time when menstruation is well and truly over, the ovaries have stopped producing high levels of sex hormones and for many ladies, perimenopause symptoms subside.

Estrogen has protective qualities and the diminished levels mean organs such as your brain, heart and bones become more vulnerable. It’s also a key lubricant so your lips may become drier, your joints less supple and your vagina might be drier. In addition, your thyroid, digestion, insulin, cortisol and weight may alter.

At this juncture, a woman might experience an increase in the signs of reduced estrogen but she should have a decrease of perimenopause symptoms. That said, some women will experience symptoms like hot flushes for years or even the rest of their lives.

Perimenopause

Peri = ‘near’

Most females begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-forties. Your progesterone levels decline from your mid-30s but it’s generally from around 40 that the rest of your sex hormones begin to follow suit. 

Perimenopause is a different experience for every woman and some women may barely notice it. The first indicators are usually changes to the monthly cycle. This means that for some ladies, this can be accompanied by things like sore breasts, mood swings, weight gain around the belly, and fatigue as time goes on.

For those with symptoms it can be a challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally.

Importantly, perimenopause lasts – on average – four to 10 years. The transition is usually a gradual process and many women enter perimenopause without realising.