As we age, our risk of developing forms of cognitive decline and memory impairment increase, so it’s perfectly natural to want to do everything we can to avoid developing conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. This degenerative disorder is being studied to determine what factors can lead to its development, and one factor being investigated is stress.
Stress is a natural part of life that everybody experiences in different ways, making it difficult to prove how it can cause or affect conditions from developing.
However, prolonged periods of stress can lead to high blood pressure, inflammation, and health problems developing—all of which could contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Fortunately, treatment options are available for seniors suffering from memory impairment, like memory care communities. These specially-designed communities are one of the ways you can help a loved one dealing with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
What Is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that directly affects memory, thinking, behavior, and many levels of cognitive function. This is the most common form of dementia and affects more than 6 million Americans.
Typically, Alzheimer’s progresses slowly. The early signs of this condition developing include:
- Mild memory loss
- Temporary confusion
- Forgetting important names, faces, or events
- Minor behavioral changes
- Forgetting words or having trouble communicating
However, this condition is considered a progressive disorder. As the condition progresses, the symptoms and effects increase in severity.
As Alzheimer’s progresses into its later stages, it can lead to:
- Severe memory loss
- Paranoia or hallucinations
- Difficulty communicating
- Difficulty with mobility or motor function
- Severe behavioral changes
- Loss of bodily functions
What Causes Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease develops due to a buildup of proteins in the brain that can damage and kill brain cells. These proteins are:
- The beta-amyloid acid, which forms plaques around brain cells and leads to them dying
- Tau protein, which tangles and kills brain cells
Over time, these plaques and tangles spread throughout the brain, causing damage to brain cells. While the exact causes of these protein building up are unknown, researchers have identified several factors linked to the likelihood of Alzheimer’s developing.
Age is the most significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease since the likelihood of developing the condition increases with age. It’s also believed that genetics play a role, as certain genes are linked to the development of this condition. And lifestyle factors, like diet, exercise, and substance abuse, can contribute to this disease developing.
However, one of the factors being studied is how stress can relate to Alzheimer’s disease.
How Stress & Alzheimer’s Are Related
Nobody wants to deal with stress, and when it becomes a chronic problem, it can have all kinds of long-term effects on your life. With more research being performed every day on how chronic stress can affect your brain, it’s believed that chronic stress may be linked to the potential development of Alzheimer’s disease.
First, stress can lead to inflammation, causing damage to the brain and contributing to the formation of beta-amyloid and tau proteins building up. It also can lead to changes in your hippocampus, a region in your brain important for memory retention and formation. Chronic stress can reduce the size of this part of your brain and cause cognitive decline over time.
However, it isn’t just the changes stress causes directly. Chronic stress can lead to the development of other conditions developing that can then cause other problems in your brain. For example, chronic stress can lead to:
- High blood pressure
- Problems with your immune system
- Damage to blood vessels
These symptoms may be linked to an increased likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Due to all of this, it becomes important to try and manage your stress levels.
How Is Alzheimer’s Treated?
While there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease due to the complex nature of the condition, there are treatments available to help manage symptoms and maintain a high quality of life. However, lowering stress is only one of these treatments. One of the best ways to deal with Alzheimer’s disease is through a memory care community.
These communities are specially-designed residential areas providing care and support for seniors struggling with memory impairment. They offer a safe, secure, and supportive environment, with a trained team on-site who are experienced in the complex nature of memory impairment.
People suffering from conditions like Alzheimer’s can receive a personal custom-tailored plan designed to help them with their unique needs. They can get assistance with their daily activities, from medication management to cognitive therapy, to help maintain a high quality of life.
How to Choose a Memory Care Community
When choosing a memory care community, it’s essential that you select a location that suits the needs of you or your loved one.
Memory care communities often allow you to visit ahead of time for a tour so you can see what life is like there. Here at Mattison Crossing, we understand the complex nature of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and the importance of managing your stress levels. We offer all kinds of programs, services, and experiences so that every person has the tools they need to combat cognitive decline.
To see for yourself the high level of care we offer every resident, schedule a tour with us today!