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Memory Problems Should Not be Ignored – North Shore – North Vancouver, West Vancouver

Many older adults are hesitant to visit a doctor about memory issues because they feel it just a normal part of aging. While some degree of memory loss is typical as we get older, memory failure that impacts daily living may be a symptom of the onset of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. The cognitive decline associated with dementia is often quite gradual, so it can be tough to recognize as it is happening. A lot times when memory lapses occur is just chalked up as a “senior moment”. Minor lapses like misplaced keys, or forgetting to pay a bill may seem insignificant, but they could be an indication of a larger, developing condition. Just like the rest of our bodies, our brains begin to deteriorate slowly as we age. Age-Related Memory Loss Mild memory impairment associated with aging, is associated with 3 main elements: Hippocampus Hormones Circulation Hippocampus The hippocampus is the area of the brain associated with memory. This region of the brain actually shrinks as we get older, and so too does the frontal lobe which is involved with high level cognitive function. Hormones Hormone production also tends to decrease with age, and in particular the hormones and proteins responsible for protecting, repairing, and stimulating new neurons, generally decline. Circulation Blood flow often decreases with age as well, as you may have noticed many seniors experience chronic pain or coldness in feet and hands from lack of blood and oxygen. Seniors that don’t get enough physical exercise may have more serious circulation problems that can result in reduced blood flow to the brain, leading to...

Diet & Activity to Prevent Cognitive Decline in Seniors – North Shore – North Vancouver, West Vancouver

Two very good lifestyle practices to make a part of your daily routine are a balanced, nutritious diet and mentally stimulating activity. This probably comes as no surprise, as these are fairly standard practices for health and wellbeing. The problem is that the majority of seniors could be doing more in both of these areas. Diet Studies show that a diet based in whole foods, and rich in nutrients, can help lower the risk of dementia. One good example of this is how the Mediterranean diet has been shown to help preserve memory and prevent cognitive decline. Brain Games Games that help keep the mind active and sharp are another good approach to help preserve cognitive function. Studies have also supported ‘brain training games’, to keep the brain healthy and nimble. Mediterranean Diet Linked to Brain Health A diet consisting of plant-based foods, as well as quality fish and poultry, has been shown to have positive effects on overall health. A nutritious diet of this nature has been associated with reduced risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive impairment. What is the Mediterranean Diet? The name makes it sound like a specific diet that is prevalently eaten in southern Europe. However, the original Mediterranean diet spans across southern Europe, west Asia, and north Africa, and there are a range of foods that are common in these regions. The Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle, that has been adopted by many people all over the earth. What does the Mediterranean Diet include? There is a loose guideline that can be followed for people looking to implement the Mediterranean diet,...

Recognizing Early Onset Dementia – North Shore – North Vancouver, West Vancouver

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and with a perpetually aging population in Canada the prevalence of the disease is growing. Alzheimer’s most typically appears in people over the age of 65. However, some people that have what is known as early onset dementia can begin developing symptoms in their 40s and 50s. A diagnosis made for early onset Alzheimer’s is rare because most believe dementia is only for the elderly, and something else must be causing the symptoms. There are several warning signs to be on the lookout for, if you suspect a family member may be exhibiting behaviors of early onset dementia. Warning Signs for Early Onset Dementia Many of the symptoms of early onset dementia are quite similar to the traditional strain of the illness, but often less pronounced, making them more difficult to detect. Some warning signs to pay attention to, might be: Subtle memory differences Mood swings Difficulty with routine tasks Mild confusion Trouble expressing themselves Repetition Disorientation Problems adjusting or adapting to new situations Slight Changes in Memory Everybody knows that dementia affects the memory. But with early onset Alzheimer’s, memory changes are generally quite subtle and gradual. Most memory issues for people with early onset dementia are to do with the short-term memory. For example, always misplacing things, or forgetting what they are doing in the moment. Mood Swings Abrupt changes in mood are common with early onset dementia. It may not be noticeable to the person it is happening to, but other people may be able to notice a difference. Depression is frequently a symptom of early onset dementia....
How Pharmacists Can Help Dementia Patients

How Pharmacists Can Help Dementia Patients

We are delighted to present this blog post written by a local pharmacist, Jovan Dzombeta, of the Peoples Pharmacy at 1200 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver. Jovan is an extremely knowledgeable and very approachable pharmacist. Please do visit the pharmacy for all your medication needs. The team will also be happy to advise in store, or in-home in North Vancouver and West Vancouver. Optimizing Medication Management/Needs 1) Pharmacists base recommendations on patient needs and evolving goals of care 2) prescribe medications when possible, it is a standard of practice that every pharmacist should perform. Start the process early in dementia patients, while the patient can still communicate and give feedback about a therapy that has been started, altered or stopped. Place emphasis on medications which affect the central nervous system. Dementia patients, as the disease progresses lose great amounts of body weight, and medications which were once used to control their obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol and arthritis may require lower doses or no dose at all. Not Everything Can Be Blamed on Dementia Always consider non-dementia causes for patient complaints and observations: 1) Tachycardia at rest, hyperhidrosis, and weight loss in dementia may be tied to the disease, but one must consider exogenous hyperthyroidism caused by excessive amounts of thyroid hormone (previous doses of thyroid hormone may become excessive in dementia patients because of a decrease in metabolic rate, decrease in physical activity, and reduction in body weight). 2) Issues with swallowing, with a loss of interest in food, weight loss and choking cough are expected in advanced dementia cases, but this could also be caused...