If you are worried about whether there is a chance that you may develop dementia in your old age, there is good news. The simple task of biting into an apple could reveal whether your worries are needless or not. Researchers have discovered that a person’s chewing ability can be an indicator of developing dementia years later. According to the study conducted by a team of researchers in Sweden, if a person struggles to chew hard foods such as apples, then he is at a greater risk of developing dementia than those who do not find any difficulty in chewing. So, eating an apple and checking your chewing ability could be beneficial in detecting dementia years or decades before it hits you.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a disease that normally occurs with aging. The word ‘dementia’ is a Latin word which means ‘madness’. A person with dementia gradually loses all his cognitive abilities such as memory, problem solving and language. Though dementia is diagnosed largely among older people, finding the disease among the younger generation is not uncommon. In fact, early onset of dementia has been found in patients who are below 65 years old.
Reasons for Dementia
In many patients dementia occurs as a result of aging and due to gradual loss of essential brain functions such as memory, attention and logic. It is a neurodegenerative disease which progresses gradually and worsens over the years. Rarely, dementia, especially in younger people, has been found to have occurred due brain injuries. Dementia occurring due to localized brain damage as a result of accidents tends to be irreversible.
Diagnosis of dementia requires that the disease should be prevalent for at least six months. This is due to the fact that lack of cognitive functions observed only for weeks fall into the category of delirium and not dementia.
Chewing Ability in Dementia Patients
Dementia patients are observed to have less chewing abilities than their normal counterparts. They tend to have sore or swollen gums which make chewing painful. Their teeth may be sensitive and painful which makes them reluctant to eat resulting in weight loss and malnutrition which could affect their overall health.
Quite a lot of studies have been done by researchers all over the world in order to find out whether dementia can be prevented. One such study conducted by the Italian University of Bari has found that restrained drinking of alcohol could actually slower the progress of dementia. Chewing hard foods also has a positive impact since chewing directs more blood flow into the brain and keeps it active.
Treatment for Dementia
Dementia cannot be reversed with treatment but it can effectively reduce the symptoms and slow the progress of the disease. The treatment is a comprehensive package including medications, brain stimulating activities and exercise.
Our counselors and RNs at Partners in Healthcare are available to talk with you about your in-home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. We are a senior care agency providing Elder Care in Orlando.