Dementia is a general term that describes the loss of memory and cognitive abilities an elderly person may experience, causing them to struggle with daily living. As the disease progresses, the symptoms will worsen. Seniors will experience memory loss and a decline in cognitive abilities. Eventually, affected elderly individuals will not be able to function and live their everyday lives without proper memory care assistance.
There currently is no cure for dementia. But if adults take the necessary steps to better care for themselves, they can improve their brain health and limit their potential for dementia later on. One way to improve their diet ― more specifically watching their sugar intake. This is because research has shown that sugar can be one of the causes of dementia.
How Does Sugar Contribute to Dementia?
While sugar can have negative effects, it is something that all humans need to survive and function. The problem, however, comes when people consume too much sugar, especially refined sugars. One reason for this is because too much sugar creates high blood sugar levels.
When you consume food, your body breaks it down into glucose, a type of sugar. Your stomach and small intestine takes that glucose and sends it to the bloodstream. From there, insulin takes the sugar and provides it to cells, giving them energy.
Too much sugar, however, causes your body to create more insulin. But too much insulin will cause your cells to resist the insulin, making it difficult for cells to get the sugar it needs. The sugar then remains in the blood instead of being distributed as energy.
Unlike normal cells, brain cells do not need insulin to get the sugar. They do, however, need insulin to convert sugar into energy, but high levels of insulin will prevent that conversion. Your brain will have the sugar it needs but cannot make use of it. Furthermore, without the energy, your brain cells eventually die.
Too much sugar intake will ultimately harm your brain and hurt your mental functions. This is seen as a primary link between sugar and dementia. It is also why some people refer to Alzheimer’s disease as “type 3 diabetes.”
Continue reading to learn more about dementia and how sugar intake can contribute to the disease.
How Can I Limit Sugar Intake?
Sugar, on its own, is just one of many possible causes of dementia. Because of its link to the degenerative condition, it is important to reduce sugar intake. This does not simply go for elderly individuals either. The sooner people watch their sugar, the healthier their brains will be as they age. Older adults can still reverse memory loss and prevent dementia by limiting their sugar intake.
A few easy ways to do this is to avoid sugary drinks, such as soda and flavored coffee, and to forgo added sugar. When you drink tea or coffee, consider passing on adding spoonfuls of sugar or at least lessen the amount you use.
Pay attention to ingredients as well. When you purchase jams, sauces, dairy products, and other food items, read the label. If sugar is high on the ingredient list, look for a healthier alternative.
When you are craving something sweet, consider having some fruit. It has natural sugars and provides numerous other benefits like vitamins.
How Else Can Memory Loss Be Reversed?
If seniors have high blood sugar, a good way to balance it is to eat whole, healthy foods and healthy fats. Avoid refined carbs, and consume eggs, chicken, nuts, and other healthy fats. This will not only help with lowering blood sugar, but it can also aid in reversing or preventing memory loss and dementia.
Daily exercise has also been known to slow down or even prevent dementia and cognitive decline.
What is Dementia?
As mentioned above, dementia is not a singular disease but rather a general term that describes different medical conditions regarding loss of memory and cognitive abilities. Alzheimer’s disease, for example, is just one type of dementia, but there are other forms of dementia like vascular dementia and mixed dementia.
When an elderly individual has dementia, it is because their brain has experienced abnormal changes that trigger a decline in cognitive abilities. To begin, affected seniors lose their short-term memory, but in the later stages, they eventually become unable to independently function. They cannot handle their own meal preparation let alone manage their personal hygiene among other things. Without effective dementia care, elderly individuals cannot safely continue with their daily lives.
Dementia can also affect an individual’s behavior and emotions. Seniors with dementia have been known to wander as a result of feeling confused or disoriented, which can be particularly dangerous if they are alone or leave their homes. Dementia patients also commonly experience agitation due to their limited cognitive abilities
Professional Dementia Care Services
If you have an elderly loved one who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, then it is important that they lower their sugar intake. It can help give them a better chance at reversing the condition’s effects and having a better quality of life. However, it is also important they have the assistance they need.
At Assisting Hands Home Care, we provide memory care services to help care for elderly individuals in Park Ridge, IL and the surrounding areas, who have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. This allows dementia patients to get the care they need within a comfortable, familiar environment. As such, you can feel at ease knowing that your loved ones have qualified professionals there to help them.
We proudly serve seniors and their families in Park Ridge, IL and the surrounding areas of Cook County.