Cognitive Decline is a Decline in memory, thinking, behaviour & social skills severe enough to interfere with Daily Life It can be mild cognitive impairment to Dementia and Alzheimer’s. According to research data, cognitive decline or degenerative brain diseases are 99% related to lifestyle disorders & 1% hereditary. Currently there is NO cure for Alzheimer’s disease. According to Dr Gaurangi Shah, MD (Medicine), PGCVR (UK), Consultant- General Medicine at P.D. Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mahim, lifestyle diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity & other factors like sedentary lifestyle, excessive alcohol consumption, inadequate sleep leads to early degeneration of brain cells so changing your lifestyle & maintaining optimum vitamin levels can reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Understanding the basics of brain cell function
3 things are most important for healthy brain cells- Oxygen, Glucose and Cholesterol.
Oxygen: Some brain cells start dying if there is no oxygen supply to them for less than 5 minutes. Same way a sedentary lifestyle also affects oxygen supply to the brain cells.
Exercising regularly improves oxygen supply to all the body cells including brain cells. This prevents early degeneration of brain cells.
Glucose: Glucose is the essential metabolic fuel for the brain. So Reduced supply of Glucose to brain cells (acute in case of hypoglycaemia) leads to impairment of cognitive function.
Elderly & diabetic people should take medicines in such a way that they don’t develop Hypoglycemia.
For young diabetics, their sugars should remain between 100-180 throughout 24 hrs. All fasting samples like before breakfast, before lunch & before dinner should be between 100-120 mg /Dl & 2 hours after breakfast, after lunch & after dinner should be between 140-180 mg/Dl.
Also Read: 8 Ayurvedic Herbs That Support Cognitive Function And Mental Clarity
Cholesterol: Cholesterol is essential for synapse formation and maturation & it plays an important role in the regulation of signal transduction through its function as a component of the brain cell membrane. So lowering cholesterol may impair brain function.
People who are on cholesterol lowering medicines ( Statins ) should regularly check their Cholesterol levels. Do not allow total cholesterol level to drop below 150 & LDL level below 70 as lowering cholesterol levels may impair brain function.
Vitamins: Vit B12 & Vit D are most important for normal brain cell function so continue taking vitamins in therapeutic doses as advised by your doctor . It’s important to take a B Complex tablet on daily bases & Vit D every fortnightly if your kidney functions are normal.
Also Read: Taking Multivitamins Daily Might Boost Cognitive Health, Finds Study
WWWVH To Slow Down Cognitive Decline
For good physical & mental health, remember WWWVH, says Dr. Gaurangi Shah.
W: Maintain your Weight.
No one can maintain the same weight throughout life but one can always maintain their weight in a healthy weight range. Healthy weight range is your BMI between 18.5 to 24.9 OR in simple words 10% +/- of your ideal weight. For example , if your height is 5 feet 8 inches then your ideal weight - for males is 68kg, for females 58 kg. Healthy weight range for male is 61 to 74 kg & for females 52 to 64 kg approximately.
W: Maintain your waistline
Central obesity is a sign of Metabolic Syndrome. Waistline cut off waistline = Height in inches /2 . So a person with 5 feet 8 inch height, waistline cut off is 68/2 = 34 inch.
Also Read: Middle Age People Must Do Weight Training, Doctor Shares Benefits
W: Go for a regular Walk
Walking keeps your weight, your BP, and sugar under control. It also helps your heart & lungs to function in a better way. It also causes endorphins secretion in your brain, which gives you a good feeling & most important- it is free of cost. So keep walking to prevent diseases. Nowadays, most people have gadgets to monitor their physical activity.
- < 3000 steps/day = sedentary Life
- 3000-5000 steps/day = Mild Activity
- 5000 -10000 steps/day = Moderate Activity
- More than 10000 steps/day = Healthy and active Lifestyle
If you are not able to walk in a single stretch due for any reason, keep walking for 5 mins every hour. You will be able to walk 40 mins over a period of 8 hours.
V: Take your vitamins regularly
Vitamin D is a hormone, not a vitamin. We have learned in school that Vit D deficiency causes Dementia. So continue taking Vit D supplement in the recommended dose. On an average, an adult needs 2000 units of Vit D every day so Taking Vit D3 60K twice a month keeps your body stored full & maintains adequate levels in blood too.
H: Undergo Yearly Health Check Up
A yearly health checkup is most important to diagnose the disease at an early stage & prevent further progression.