Alzheimer’s disease affects over 35,000 people in Ireland. In today’s world if Alzheimer’s is detected early enough it can be stabilized so people can continue to live a better quality of life and sustain functionality for longer. An international survey from the Harvard School of Public Health found that Alzheimer’s is the second most feared disease after cancer and it comes as no surprise.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a progressive, degenerative disease with three stages; mild, moderate and severe. It is a result of progressive damage to nerve cells and their connections. Each individual is different and can experience the different stages at different rates. The early signs of Alzheimer’s disease also vary from person to person but the most common symptom is memory loss such as forgetting names and recalling events. According the HSE the 10 most common symptoms include:
• Memory loss
• Difficulty in performing everyday tasks
• Changes in mood and behaviour
• Changes in personality
• Disorientation in familiar surroundings
• Problems with language
• Poor or decreased judgement
• Misplacing things regularly
• Difficulty solving problems or doing puzzles
• Loss of interest in starting projects or doing things
A person can develop Alzheimer’s for many different reasons including age, gender and family history but most people do not know that you can actively decrease the likelihood of getting the disease. According to Harvard Medical School the five key things you can do to lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s are:
1. Maintaining a healthy weight through appropriate calorie intake and physical activity.
2. Measure your waistline (should be no more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men).
3. Watch what you eat. Focus on vitamin rich vegetables and fruits, whole grains, protein and healthy fats. Also keep an eye on your portion sizes.
4. Regular physical activity to control your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.
5. Monitor your health number by ensuring your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and blood sugar are within healthy ranges.
The benefits of health screening can be felt by both the employer and the employee alike. Health screening is an effective way of increasing employee morale, and leads to reduced sickness and levels of absenteeism.
Smoking Cessation Programmes, Carbon Monoxide Lung Analysis, Cardiovascular Risk Assessment, Alcohol Awareness/Risk Assessment, Spirometry, Celiac Testing, Weight and Stress Management.