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Parkinson's vs Alzheimer's : What's The Difference?

What Kind Of Dementia Is That?

Alice constantly feels like a big blur is overtaking her entire life. From the minute she wakes up, there seems to be a fog descending on the brain that causes her to operate in a constant state of confusion. She very often feels like her brain is shrinking, or at least the part of her brain she used to rely on to remember things is shutting down.

At 62 years old, she didn't see the need to keep herself up-to-date with the latest smartphones and the different apps her kids keep raving about, but now she can't imagine how she can recall all the important dates and times without them. Her kids have synced her Google calendar with theirs and they call her on the phone to make sure she consistently drinks her medication on time and attends her therapy sessions.

Still, the feeling of confusion feels extremely heightened on some days. Alice finds out that she runs on auto-pilot sometimes and there are big chunks of the day that are just several minutes of lost time. She sees herself holding a bag filled with blue string and she has no idea what it's for or where she got it from.

Do you think Alice's case is a starting degenerative brain disorder? Is it Parkinson's or Alzheimer's? What's the difference between the two?

Dementia

Contrary to popular belief, dementia is not a specific disease. It is rather a syndrome, that can result from any one of a large group of injuries, infections, or diseases.

Common symptoms of dementia include memory failure, reduced capacity to focus on multiple tasks simultaneously and divide attention between them, difficulties with language comprehension or expression, struggles in understanding spatial orientation, weakened executive function, and inability to properly decode nonverbal cues.

What is Alzheimer's Disease?

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia among older adults. It is an irreversible degeneration of one's brain that creates interruptions in personality, memory, and cognition that ultimately lead to death from total brain shutdown.

Early signs of the disease that you should look out for include forgetting recent events or conversations. As the illness advances, somebody with Alzheimer's disease will exhibit severe memory impairment. This will continue until they are no longer able to carry out everyday tasks on their own.

Genetic and environmental factors can aggravate or increase one's risk for Alzheimer's. These factors include smoking, traumatic brain injury, your diet, your weekly physical activity, diabetes, and other medical diseases.

What is Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson's disease was named by James Parkinson nearly 100 years before Dr. Alois Alzheimer described the type of dementia called Alzheimer's disease (AD).

This disease was colloquially referred to as the "shaking palsy" by James Parkinson. It is diagnosed in people who exhibit at least two of these three symptoms: slowed movements (bradykinesia), muscle rigidity, and tremor even at rest.

Other recognized associated signs of Parkinson's Disease includes having an expressionless face, difficulty swallowing, cramped handwriting, trouble getting out of a chair, and a shuffling gait. Many of the symptoms are a result of nerve cell death in those that produce dopamine.

In addition to movement-related symptoms, Parkinson's symptoms may be non-motor. Examples of non-motor symptoms include indifference, depression, constipation, sleep disorders, loss of the ability to smell, and cognitive impairment.

Age of Onset

The majority of people with Alzheimer's have the late-onset type— symptoms first manifest after they reach the age of mid-60s. Parkinson's begins earlier than Alzheimer's, commonly between the ages of 50 and 65, with an average age of onset of around 62 years. There have been some recorded cases however of people showing symptoms even before the age of 40.

Parkinson's has been found to be less common than Alzheimer's with a running statistic of around 3 cases per 1,000 people. Nevertheless, it is still an important cause of neurological illness among older adults.

A small percentage of people with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's experience early onset of the disease. Symptoms of Parkinson's can begin before the age of 50 while the early onset of Alzheimer's begins before the age of 60.

The early-onset forms of Parkinson's are often, but not always inherited. Many people with early-onset Alzheimer's, although not all, have inherited specific gene mutations.

Cognitive Decline

Cognitive decline is common in both dementia diseases, though significantly less common in people with Parkinson's. People suffering from Parkinson's disease can expect to develop cognitive difficulties that can range from mild forgetfulness to full-blown disorientation.

Distinguishing between the various types of neurodegenerative conditions is essential in determining the best treatment approach to use. Medication suitable for one of these conditions, for example, might generate problems when given to a patient with another condition contrary to the disease it was formulated to counteract.

How Do I Properly Take Care Of My Brain?

At any age, it is important to take care of your brain health. You can easily increase your creativity, efficiency, and response time with only small tweaks to your present lifestyle. Remember to keep in mind these in mind:

Balanced Diet

When you are able to eat meals that satisfy your daily nutritional requirements, you will take in enough vitamins and minerals that will support and sustain your nervous system.

The brain also needs specific nutrients to stay sharp. Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, help in building and repairing brain cells, and antioxidants reduce cellular stress and swelling, which are linked to brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders.

Don't smoke, lessen alcohol intake & do not take drugs

Even if you don't drink a lot, alcohol has a cumulative effect on your brain. One blackout after a drinking binge can induce life long memory loss. Over time, smaller amounts of alcohol will lead to blackouts and soon you'll have a ton of lost time even though you barely drank one bottle of beer.

Smoking negatively affects memory by reducing the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain while repeated drug use kills your neurons and the rushes of dopamine reinforce drug dependence.

Exercise

Exercise creates a lot of mental stimulation. This is more emphasized when you try a new workout or dance for the first time. Your brain will be exerting more effort in practicing the motions and in directing your muscles.

Aerobic exercise seems to be the best for brain health since it keeps your heart rate going up as your body pumps more blood to the brain. Strength training can also be a good option as it also increases your heart rate.

Challenge your brain by learning something new weekly

You need to change how you stimulate your brain on a weekly basis, or else your brain becomes lazy. Actively seek to challenge your cognitive skills, and possibly learn something new and enhance your other talents along the way, too.

Peak and Valley's Nourish My Brain uses adaptogens that will increase your protection against stress. Their specially curated medicinal mushroom extracts and herbs are sure to boost memory ability, facilitate focus, and advance your memory. This blend consists of maca root, ashwagandha, snow mushroom, and lion's mane mushroom to improve cognitive performance and memory recall.

Adaptogens are a classification of mushrooms and herbs that will help your body's reaction to stress by regulating your physiological and hormonal responses. They are also always nontoxic to the patient! For an herb or mushroom to be categorized as an adaptogen, they must have no side effects or cause any kind of irregular disturbance to the body's regular functions.

Peak and Valley offer 3 different kinds of adaptogenic blends (Stress Blend, Mind Blend, Skin Blend). They offer inclusive, science-backed, and honest products to the world of wellness and their website offers a myriad of recipes you can try. Rest assured, their herbs and mushrooms are responsibly sourced with high purity/potency and farmed with mindful practices. You can easily buy a bottle of your favorite blend ( or opt for a monthly subscription) through their website.

Regular consumption of adaptogens will soothe your nerves, give your memory that much-needed jolt to recall important dates and events and regulate your adrenal (hormone) levels to keep your body in a healthy equilibrium.

Not only do adaptogens help with physical stressors like muscle fatigue but they can also help with biological stressors by enhancing your immune protection! These natural substances will help you manage the negative side effects of chronic stress and improve the quality of your sleep so you can start the day feeling invigorated and stimulated.

This blend has a caramel-y and earthy flavor that creates an amazing flavor when mixed with coffee, all kinds of milk, or tea. Just add 1 tsp into your drink of choice and feel your stress becoming more and more manageable along with your wits sharpening.

Fight the symptoms of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's with Peak and Valley's Nourish My Brain blend.

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