Dr. Macie Smith

Ask Dr. Macie

ASK DR. MACIE

Wow! Is it true that changing your diet to include walnuts and blueberries can reverse dementia? Well, not exactly. While dementia is not the diagnosis, it is a group of behaviors that are displayed as a result of a condition impeding cognitive functioning, one’s mental capacity. There are more than 100 causes of dementia; let’s explore a few of them.

Dementia, again, is a group of symptoms that are exhibited due to a cognitive impairment that can be caused by a host of conditions. There are progressive and reversible causes of dementia. Let’s explore the progressives, first. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease; which is an irreversible brain disease that tends to affect the short-term memory early on in the disease process. Then, there is Vascular dementia that is brought on by having several mini strokes or TIAs. Next, there is Lewy Body Dementia and Frontal Temporal Dementia; each of which is progressive and irreversible.

Now, let’s move on to the reversible or “pseudo” types/causes of dementia. Dementia can be caused by conditions that can be treated, such as:

• Urinary Tract Infections

• Vitamin Deficiencies

• Insomnia

• Diabetes

• Thyroid concerns

• Depression

• Substance abuse/use

• Medication side-effects

All the conditions listed above can be treated; thereby, considered treatable causes of dementia.

So, if you notice signs of dementia in you or a loved one, always consider the treatable, first. Rule out all areas that can be addressed that could contribute to the lack of optimal brain functioning. Once all treatable causes of dementia are addressed, you might find that the condition improves because the symptoms that were displayed were caused by treatable conditions, such as the ones listed above. Once all treatable conditions have been ruled out, then you’ll want to take the necessary steps to obtain a reasonable diagnosis.

Although there is no treatment or cure for most progressive types of dementia, we do know that preserving a healthy brain with proper diet, exercise, not smoking, and appropriately managing stress may reduce your risk of developing chronic illnesses, including progressive and reversible dementias. The Mediterranean diet is the meal plan I tend to follow closely as it is also an anti-inflammatory meal plan. Of course, what’s good for me, may not be good for you. So, I encourage you to talk with your physician and/or nutritionist about a meal plan that works for you.

For more information about Dementia, consider ordering my guidebook “A Dementia Caregiver’s Guide to Care: Frequently Asked Questions” from Amazon.com.

For more information on how to preserve a healthy brain and properly manage stress, consider attending my upcoming Compassion Fatigue Retreat Conference that is being held on November 22, 2019 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Seawell’s Catering & Conference Center in Columbia, SC. Tickets are available for this conference at www.carolinaboxoffice.com.

If you have questions about healthy aging or available resources, feel free to send in your questions to info@dtconsultant.org. Or, contact us directly at 803.814.6721; our team of trained Social Workers and Dementia Specialists at Diversified Training Consultants Group can help. Tune in to ONPOINT on WACH FOX 57 every 2nd Sunday to catch Ask Dr. Macie live.

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