BRUCE Willis has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and there are warnings it may be more common than thought.
A statement from the actor’s family said, “For people under 60, FTD is the most common form of dementia and given that it can take years to diagnose, it’s probably a lot more common than we know.”
Here we look at the signs of the disease and how you can help protect your brain.
WHAT IS DEMENTIA? It is a syndrome associated with decreased brain function.
Alzheimer’s Research UK says there are 944,000 people living with the disease and types include Alzheimer’s (the most common), vascular dementia, FTD and dementia with Lewy bodies.
WHAT CAUSES IT? The NHS says many types of dementia are linked to “an abnormal buildup of proteins in the brain” which stops nerve cells from functioning properly and they die.
But there is no single cause, and while it usually affects those over 65, it can also affect younger people.
WHAT ARE THE EARLY SIGNS? Short-term memory loss is a key early symptom—plus mood swings, loss of interest in things the person has been doing, feeling disoriented, making rash decisions, forgetting routes, confusion, and finding daily tasks challenging.
People can also have problems with their speed of thinking, speech, and movement.
WHAT ABOUT FRONTOTEMPORAL DEMENTIA? FTD usually begins in people between the ages of 45 and 65. Symptoms include behavior changes and speech problems, and sufferers are also easily distracted.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS? There is currently no cure for dementia.
Certain medications and therapies can help, as can support groups such as memory cafes and memory workshops, which use music and old photos to increase happiness levels and well-being.
HOW CAN THE RISK OF DEMENTIA BE REDUCED
Hana Burianová, a professor of neuroscience at vitamin and supplement company Healthspan, has these tips.
MOVE MORE: Too much sedentary lifestyle leads to poor circulation and oxygen supply, dysregulation of hormones and neurotransmitters, faster aging and a predisposition to dementia.
SWEET DREAMS: Irregular and insufficient sleep can negatively impact brain health. Prof. Burianová says: “If this becomes a regular pattern, then there will be a chronic problem affecting our brain.”
TO CALM ONESELF DOWN: Chronic stress and anxiety can have devastating effects on brain performance.
Prof. Burianová says: “Stress leads to dysregulation of hormones and neurotransmitters, accelerated aging and the decline of neurocognitive functions, which includes poor concentration, memory and emotion regulation and a predisposition to dementia.”
HANG: Loneliness can really kill. Spend time with friends and family or join a club to expand your circle. Prof. Burianová says: “Lonely people have a twice as high risk of dementia due to laziness and lack of communication.”
BRAIN CARRY: Help keep your brain flexible by testing it regularly.
Prof. Burianová says: “Try any challenges that require concentration, such as
https://www.the-sun.com/health/7447495/early-signs-risk-of-dementia-protect-brain/ The 11 early signs you could be at risk of dementia after Bruce Willis’ diagnosis – and how to protect your brain