Alzheimer's isn't inevitable
Maybe it starts with simply forgetting something. You can't remember the route to a restaurant you've been to many times before or the birthday present a friend gave you a month ago.
Then comes the worry. Is your forgetfulness a sign of something serious, like Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia?
Such brain freezes happen to most of us, to different degrees, as we age.ï»¿ Even experienced public speakers have their "oops!" moments, when a word or term they use on a daily basis simply refuses to come to mind.
But while common memory lapses are frustrating, they don't necessarily mean Alzheimer's is at the door. If your lapses aren't disrupting your life, there's no need to be actively worried, experts say. But if they are disrupting your life, you should consult your doctor. Your lapses might well have very treatable causes. Severe stress, depression, a vitamin B12 deficiency, insufficient sleep, some prescription drugs and infections can all play a role.
Your memory isn't completely at the mercy of time. Studies have shown that people who exercise, stay mentally active, socialize regularly and eat a healthy diet can minimize memory loss.
Alzheimer's isn't inevitable. Many experts now believe you can prevent or at least delay dementia — even if you have a genetic predisposition. Reducing Alzheimer's risk factors like obesity, diabetes, smoking and low physical activity by just 25 percent could prevent up to half a million cases of the disease in the United States, according to a recent analysis from the University of California in San Francisco.
"If you do only one thing to keep your brain young, exercise," says Art Kramer, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Illinois. Higher exercise levels can reduce dementia risk by 30 percent to 40 percent, and physically active people tend to maintain better cognition and memory than inactive people.
"They also have substantially lower rates of different forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease," Kramer says.
Working out helps your hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in memory formation. As you age, your hippocampus shrinks, leading to memory loss. Exercise can reverse this process, research suggests. How you work up a sweat is up to you, but most experts recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate activity. Even a little bit can help.
"In our research as little as 15 minutes of regular exercise three times per week helped maintain the brain," says Eric B. Larson, M.D., executive director of Group Health Research Institute in Seattle.
If you would like to start a new exercise program or just extend what you do, the Senior Center has many options to choose from. If you're just starting out or if you want a vigorous workout, we have it all. From tai chi to Zumba, you can choose the workout that best suits you. For more information, call Teresa at 433-2370, ext. 6. We would love to see you there. Lets age well together.
Tuesday: Silver Sneakers, 8:30 a.m.; Exercise w/Evie, 9 a.m.; cards, 12:30 p.m.; art class, 1 p.m.; Silver Sneakers, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Tai Chi 9:30 a.m.; cards, 12:30 p.m.; Stitching Bees, 1 p.m.; open chess, 1 p.m.
Thursday: Silver Sneakers, 8:30 a.m.; Defensive Driving, 9 a.m.; Exercise w/Evie, 9 a.m.; cards, 12:30 p.m.; bingo, 1 p.m.; art class, 1 p.m.; open chess, 1 p.m.; computer class, 2 p.m.; Silver Sneakers, 4:30 p.m.
Friday: Tai chi, 9:30 a.m.; cards, 12:30 p.m.
Weekly card results
Monday Bridge, Aug. 20 w/3 tables playing: 1. Mabel Vaale; 2. Harriet Oldenberg; 3. Quentin Fiala; 4. Joyce Fadness; 5. Ray Schmidt.
Tuesday Duplicate Bridge, Aug. 21 w/5 tables playing: 1. Loren Cleland, Dave Ring; 2. Gail Schmidt, Ray Schmidt; 3. Jim Fisher, Bud Higgins; 4. Mabel Vaale, Russ Vaale.
Tuesday "500," Aug. 21 w/4 tables playing: 1. Dorothy Stern; 2. Buelah Luthe; 3. Eddie Hall; 4. Willard Ballantyne.
Pinochle, Aug. 21: Elaine Reynolds, Jaynard Johnson. Aug. 23: Mildred Ballantyne.
Aug. 24: Mildred Ballantyne.
Friday Bridge, Aug. 24. w/4 tables playing: 1. Mary Johnsen; 2. Arnie Lang; 3. Pat Swenson; 4. Joyce Crowe; 5. Loretta Nelson, Mable Vaale.
Weekly Cribbage, Aug. 22 w/3 1/4 tables playing: 1. Loretta Nelson; 2. Dorothy Schloo; 3. Jessie Swain.
Weekly "500" Aug. 24. w/4 tables playing: 1. Beulah Luthe; 2. Gene Rauen; 3. Willard Ballantyne; 4. Arlys Spurlin.
Semcac Daily Meals
Tuesday: Onion smothered beef steak.
Wednesday: Ham balls.
Thursday: Baked chicken.
Friday: Beef pot roast.