An active brain can help ward off conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. -Image: Pixabay

Brain health the focus of Kelowna workshop

Alzheimer Society of B.C. offering strategies for protecting and maintaining the brain on Aug. 29.

Your muscles aren’t the only parts of your body that need a regular workout.

Healthy aging is important for everyone, and it is essential not to forget the health of your brain as well, says the non-profit Alzheimer Society of B.C.

The Society brings its free ‘Heads Up! An Introduction to Brain Health’ workshop to Kelowna on Tuesday, August 29.

The workshop offering strategies for actively engaging in protecting and maintaining the brain. Participants will learn how to set goals for improving the health of their mind, body and spirit.

Anyone interested in brain health is welcome to attend the session. It runs from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Alzheimer Resource Centre, 307-1664 Richter Street. Pre-registration is required, by contacting 250-860-0305 or cgrounlund@alzheimerbc.org.

Active and healthy brains may assist in fighting some common conditions among aging adults, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease: Is irreversible and destroys brain cells, causing thinking ability and memory to deteriorate. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging.

Dr. Alois Alzheimer first identified the disease in 1906. He described the two hallmarks of the disease: “plaques,” which are numerous tiny, dense deposits scattered throughout the brain that become toxic to brain cells at excessive levels, and “tangles,” which interfere with vital processes, eventually choking off the living cells. When brain cells degenerate and die, the brain markedly shrinks in some regions.

Dementia: Is an overall term for a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. Symptoms may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language, severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. A person with dementia may also experience changes in mood or behaviour.

Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms will gradually get worse as more brain cells become damaged and eventually die.

Dementia is not a specific disease. Many diseases can cause dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia (due to strokes), Lewy Body disease, head trauma, fronto-temporal dementia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. These conditions can have similar and overlapping symptoms.

Some treatable conditions can produce symptoms similar to dementia, for example, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disease, sleep disorders, or mental illness. It is therefore important to arrange for a full medical assessment as early as possible.

More information on living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is available at www.alzheimerbc.org.

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