In 2023, there are more than 400,000 Australians living with dementia as it continues to dominate as the second leading cause of death in Australia and the leading cause of death for women. Experts have said it presents a major and rapidly growing threat to future health and social care systems in every community, country and continent and combatting the issue starts with making positive lifestyle choices and being aware of not only dementia but the entire group of issues to do with brain health such as Alzheimer’s disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), which can be regarded as the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Recent studies indicate that people with MCI are more likely to develop dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease and it is currently estimated that people with MCI have a 3 to 5 times increased risk of developing dementia than others their age.
Globally recognised specialist in geriatric medicine and Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine, Associate Professor Michael Woodward AM says Al
zheimer’s disease can be managed with a combination of lifestyle changes and medications: “Acting early by recognising symptoms in the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease and speaking to a GP or pharmacist can ensure the condition is correctly identified and managed appropriately to prolong its potential progression into dementia.
Gerald Quigley is a leading community pharmacist for over 50 years, Master Herbalist and host of The House of Wellness Radio who is passionate about positive ageing and what we can do in terms of lifestyle choices to support brain health and our overall wellbeing. He shares that “Globally, about 16% of the population over 70 years old experiences some type of Mild Cognitive Impairment.
As we get older, it is normal to become a little more forgetful. But if you have noticed your memory is not as sharp as it used to be, Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) might be the lingering cause. Gerald Quigley explains that “MCI is a condition which develops when a person’s memory declines more than what is expected for that person’s age or education, and can be an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease between the expected cognitive decline of normal ageing and the more serious decline of dementia, also easily mistaken for ‘forgetfulness’ as a part of normal ageing.” However, there is a series of simple lifestyle choices we can make to ultimately reduce the risk.
It is extremely important to keep a positive mindset
- Engage in a ray of activities on all social, physical, and intellectual fronts for optimal brain stimulation. This includes regular engagement with others, appropriate and comfortable exercise, a focus on Mediterranean-style food options like fish, leafy greens and berries and even taking a medical nutrition drink such Souvenaid that has a combination of fatty acids, vitamins, and nutrients.
What are the warning signs of MCI?
- The inability to make decisions or feeling incredibly overwhelmed by them
- Slower memory recall, and forgetfulness when it comes to remembering dates and events or questions shortly after being asked
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