Friday, March 20, 2015

Stress and Dementia

I have to veer slightly off topic today as I found a troubling article in the Wall Street Journal that arrested my attention. We all know that stress is bad for us and we know the detrimental impact on immunity and blood pressure and chronic disease states. This has always disturbed me; however, new information points to a relationship between stress and dementia.

This news should not be surprising based on information we already have. I think it comes down to this: dementia scares me. Other disease states can be managed, and while not always pleasant, symptoms can be diminished. Dementia is a beast.

Apparently, with uncontrollable stress, there is a significant increase in risk for developing dementia and other memory-related illnesses. Research using brain scans shows us that branches of brain cells can shrink and even disappear after traumatic events.

Neuroplasticity is the term to remember. This refers to the ability of the brain to regroup and form new neural connections. The brain is dynamic and damage can be reversed. The recipe for doing this will sound familiar:

Get the sleep you need.
Drink plenty of water.
Eat a healthy diet.
Manage your stress by reducing multi-tasking.
Get outdoors whenever possible.
Limit electronics.

Remember that your cell phone is not an appendage. We survived for many years without 24/7 connectivity. We all need downtime. Reverse that damage! Remember that a little stress keeps us sharp. Unmanageable stress is a killer.

More on stress management to follow!

Healthy living with John Hollis Pharmacy!

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