How Meditation Benefits Alzheimer’s Patients

How Meditation Benefits Alzheimer’s Patients

How Meditation Benefits Alzheimer’s Patients

Several claims about the benefits of meditation toward Alzheimer’s Disease have become more apparent these days. This leads then to the notion that meditating may help slow down symptoms and even probably alleviate the condition.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of dementia among elders and seniors. As per the National Institute of Aging, it is “progressive” and “irreversible” as it causes brain damages, which then results in problems memory, thinking skills, and behavior.

In the United States, about 5.8 million individuals have Alzheimer’s. It was also released by Alzheimer’s Association that in this figure, nearly 97 percent are ages 65 and above. Only 200,000 of them are aged below 65.

While the condition was said to be on the rise in recent times, it is worth noting that Alzheimer’s Disease is not normal for anyone. As it happens, it is not part of aging.

Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease

The main cause of Alzheimer’s Disease has yet to be known. Even so, several claims made by experts in the field, especially those who have experiences in handling memory care facilities for seniors, have been able to connect the dots and link the condition to various risk factors.

As explained by NHS UK, the condition is “thought” to be the result of the abnormal protein build-up in brain cells. These proteins involved form “plaques” and “tangles” within the cells.

It remains unknown, though, as to what causes this to happen. Nevertheless, it was attested that the process normally happens long before the initial symptoms manifest to a person.

Some of the risk factors were also noted. And these include:

  •         Age
  •         Genetics
  •         Cognitive Impairment
  •         Head Trauma
  •         Cardiovascular Health
  •         Stress
  •         Poor Sleeping Habits
  •         Poor Lifestyle

Cure, Treatments, and Prevention

The same institutions revealed that there is no cure yet for Alzheimer’s Disease. So, there is no way yet to stop its progression. It is quite logical, though, as the main cause of the condition has not yet been discovered. But, once experts have been able to make a breakthrough in finding the cause, searching for the cure will surely then follow.

In parallel with this conclusion, prevention is the best option for individuals who do not have Alzheimer’s. And the best ways to prevent it is to consider all the risk factors and move from there.

Given all the variables that could contribute to the progression and manifestation of the disease, one could simply change their ways and habits, especially in the aspect of their lifestyle. It is worth noting that prevention is way better than cure.

But, despite all of these things, there are still treatments that can be given to people who are suffering from AD. They are very evident in many senior assisted living homes and facilities today. Such treatments include medications, therapies, and other alternative treatments.

By far, alternative treatments have become a very significant aspect in the field of treating Alzheimer’s. And one of these things largely tackles meditation.

Meditation and Alzheimer’s Disease

As we all know, meditation has been practiced by a lot of people since then. And the popularity of the practice has become a lot more emphasized today since the benefits of practicing mindfulness have been largely centered by many experts and actual practitioners.

In terms of treating Alzheimer’s Disease, since the condition targets the mind, memory, and the quality of these aspects, many individuals in the field sought the importance of the links between meditation and the condition. Based on reports, the results were promising.

According to a study conducted in Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, meditation showed impressive effects on people who have Alzheimer’s Disease. It was concluded that the practice of mindfulness can effectively slow down the progression of the disease.

An article was also published by Express UK claiming that meditation can also be utilized to protect individuals, especially the elderly, against dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. In the report, several experts also noted how studies have been able to make a breakthrough in this area.

While the studies have not been conclusive yet, it was claimed that this is already a great discovery in preventing and treating AD and other forms of dementia.

How Meditation Helps

While the base and foundation of the research and studies about the benefits of meditation to Alzheimer’s today already proved that the practice is beneficial, several claims attested that these things need further basis and proof. But, even so, the specifications on how meditation can help the condition may already serve as a good starting point.

Here are the proven points on how meditation can benefit people who have Alzheimer’s Disease:

  • Prevention From Cognitive Decline

Cognitive decline is one of the risk factors of the condition. Also, the decline further happens when the disease starts to progress. But, as per Everyday Health, regular meditation increases and elevates the cerebral blood flow. As a result, it helps decrease stress and improves focus and concentration. Accordingly, the practice helps people with AD to fight cognitive decline and delay the progression.

  • Beta-Amyloid Change

People who have Alzheimer’s Disease were always seen to have “clumps of beta-amyloid protein. It is unclear, however, if this mainly causes the condition.

As per Medical News Today, data was gathered after controlling a group of seniors who practice meditation for 12 weeks. It was found that changes in the amount of beta-amyloid occurred. While it remains inconclusive, several claims have been already made that meditation can help people with AD in terms of the symptoms.

  •   Cellular Aging

Cellular aging is a great risk factor as well to Alzheimer’s Disease. Aside from the development, it also comes with the progression.

While aging is obviously irreversible, meditation, as well as, yoga is found to be great practices that can “physically change cells.” The paper was written by Linda Carlson from the Tom Baker Cancer Center in Canada.

  •   Hippocampus Structure

The hippocampus of people who have AD shows significant shrinkage in its structures. However, Alzheimers Net suggests that individuals who practice yoga and meditation show “less atrophy” in the structure of the hippocampus despite having the disease.

  • Grey Matter and Cortical Thickness

From the same institution, regular meditation has been noted to increase cortical thickness and grey matter in the brain. Because of this, the aging rate of the brain slows down, which helps alleviate brain-related conditions.

It has been also suggested that the increase in such matters is linked to a person’s decision making and memory. And all of these are essential aspects that must be considered and paid attention to on people who are suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Final Thoughts

All in all, all of the studies and research in recent times linking meditation and Alzheimer’s Disease have remained inconclusive. Even so, the actual data gathered in each study already proves that meditation can largely benefit people who have Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Author Bio:

This post was written by Holly Klamer. She loves to write on issues related to memory care facilities  for seniors, assisted and senior living  and retirement and is a frequent contributor on many blogs and online publications

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