Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Walking for Wellness
The experts recommend that we spend at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity which includes walking cycling gardening on five or more days a week. We all know that walking is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to increase your physical activity and improve your overall health.
Walking strengthens your heart, lungs, bones, muscles and mental health. There are numerous incentives and campaigns to encourage us outside. Such as the #GetOutside champions from Ordnance Survey, or the #Walk1000Miles challenge by Country Walking Magazine and the #OneHourADay outdoors initiative.
Walking for wellness is one of our main ethos campaigns as we encourage as many of you to enjoy the great outdoors and the free beneficial impact that nature has on our mental health and well-being.
Walking is one of the most beneficial activities for mental health. I wrote about how walking helped me in a separate post and walking can also help to delay the possible onset of dementia in later life. My mother is in the end stages of dementia, despite being fit and healthy and following activity guidelines all her life, so we wanted to talk some more about dementia and raise awareness for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia, after Alzheimer's disease, affecting around 150,000 people in the UK. Vascular dementia is caused by the reduced blood supply to the brain due to diseased blood vessels.
The term “dementia” is used to describe a set of symptoms that can include memory loss, difficulty thinking, problem-solving, or issues with language. Dementia is caused by damage to the brain cells, and because Alzheimer's is a disease that destroys the brain, it is one of the most common causes of dementia.
There was a post on Facebook recently with the following wording:
'Alzheimer's patients can have medication that helps their cognitive state whereas vascular dementia patients have a death sentence. They progress back to the point where they can't look after themselves and are in a newborn state. But unlike a newborn, they lose the ability to swallow. Then the choice must be made to provide a feeding tube or not.
Imprisonment in one's own rapidly shrinking brain is how a doctor described it to me. I wouldn't wish Dementia/Alzheimer's on my worst enemy. As the patient's brain slowly dies, they change physically and eventually forget who their loved ones are. Patients can eventually become bedridden, unable to move; unable to eat or drink.'
The above Facebook post is badly worded and does not help to spread positive awareness. Both Alzheimer’s and Vascular are types of dementia. The above wording states that Alzheimer's can be controlled by tablets but vascular dementia is a death sentence. Both types shorten life. Possibly, if caught early enough, there is some evidence that early medications may help to slow Alzheimer's progression, but not long term.
The above Facebook wording suggests Alzheimer's is a lesser, not as severe, disease. This simply is not true. Both are utterly devastating.
Since there is such a variety of causes of Vascular dementia and therefore different degrees of damage, it's difficult to predict survival time for vascular dementia. Progression of vascular dementia depends on a number of factors including the extent of the damage in the brain.
With Alzheimer’s, the median survival rate after the beginning of symptoms is approximately 8 years.
It is important to raise awareness, but it is crucial to make sure that information is factual and not misleading.
7 Stages of Alzheimer’s
One: Although the Alzheimer’s Association lists seven stages, stage one has no noticeable symptoms and diagnosis at this stage is unlikely.
Two: Mild loss of short term memory. Small but noticeable lapses may be present. Minor loss of language skills, using incorrect words, trouble to recall words or names of familiar items, places or people.
Three: Increased language deficit. Difficulty choosing correct words and remembering people's names. Difficulty performing social or work-related tasks that were previously easy or routine. Noticeable forgetfulness frequently losing objects and valuables. Forgetting important appointments and dates. Trouble with planning and organising. Difficulty with directions and driving.
Four: Severe forgetfulness loss of ability to perform mental math. Trouble with paying bills, forgetting personal history and past events. Changes in mood.
Five: More severe lapses in memory and functional ability to recall important personal details such as phone number, address, date of birth, place of work. Confusion in day to day life, forgetting where they are, what day it is. Trouble computing simple arithmetic.
Six: Loss of awareness of surroundings and experiences. Changes in sleep patterns. Inability to dress or to choose appropriate clothing. Trouble remembering names of relatives and caregivers. Major changes in personality and behaviour possibility of delusions and hallucinations believing someone is out to get them. A tendency to become lost.
Seven: Loss of verbal skills. Loss of motor skills and the ability to control movement. Inability to dress, or feed themselves. Difficulty sitting or holding up head without support. Rigid muscles and trouble swallowing.
Hadrian's Wall Trek
In 2015 Dunk and our eldest son Owen trekked 26 miles along Hadrian's Wall to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society. They raised over £700 and had an amazing experience.
The trek is organised by the Alzheimer's Society and is an opportunity to retrace ancient Roman paths as you conquer Hadrian's Wall, one of England's most historic landmarks. Trek for loved ones, and raise money so together we can find a cure.
The Trek26 Challenge
The Alzheimer's Society supports you every step of the way with fundraising tips and ideas. Bespoke training plans put together by their professional training coaches. A fully supported route including regular rest stops with snacks, drinks and toilets. Free breakfast, lunch and hot drinks included. Trek leaders and medical support, finishing with a medal and glass of bubbly on completing the route!
You'll start and finish the trek at the event hub at Haltwhistle Upper School (Sports Hall), Park Avenue, Haltwhistle, NE49 9BA.
The event is held each year and you can find out more about how to get involved on the website. https://www.alzheimers.org.uk
Over to You...
Please do join in the discussion if you have been affected by dementia in your family or if you have done the Hadrian's Wall Trek. Comment below and find us on social media as @AdventureAccess and use the hashtag #AdventureWild.
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