Chiropractic Care for Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Alzheimer’s and dementia are diseases that rob patients of their mental faculties. They are progressive diseases, and they are incurable at this time. Most treatments are medical in nature, and they have been shown to slow the progression of the disorders in some patients. Regular chiropractic care can be a helpful adjunct or alternative to medical treatments, and it may not only slow the disorders, but it could be useful in preventing them in the first place.
What are Alzheimer’s and Dementia?
Dementia involves a severe decline in mental ability, including memory loss, that impacts daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common type. It is not a normal part of aging, although age is the largest risk factor. It worsens over time, and it leads to patients being unable to respond to their environment and other people.1 The diseases causes confusion, irritability and mood swings, language problems, and severe memory loss. The disease of Alzheimer’s, for example, is associated with “plaques and tangles in the brain”. Treatments do not cure the disease, and they only manage the symptoms for a period of time. It is thought that exercise, a balanced diet, and mental stimulation may help delay the symptoms. The causes are still unknown in the medical community, although there is continuing research in many areas.2 Other forms of dementia can be caused by strokes, Huntington’s disease, AIDS, Lyme disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, tumors, alcohol abuse, brain injury, some medications, and other dietary factors. General treatments include addressing any anemia, depression, heart disease, infections, and providing medications for those, as well as antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, stimulants, and drugs such as Aricept, Exelon, Razadyne, and Namenda.3
How Chiropractic May Help
Chiropractors advocate an overall healthy lifestyle and prevention. Some chiropractors feel coconut oil may be beneficial because it raises the “good (HDL) cholesterol”. This could benefit “central nervous system impairments” because glucose, the brain’s energy source, can be assisted by “median chain triglycerides (providing) a source of ketone…an alternative to glucose”.4 Other chiropractors point to a study in Neurology which suggested that red wine, which is “high in flavonoids”, may help “counteract aging damage to blood vessels”. Not only were the rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s lowered, but red wine could also be reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease.5 Gingko is another substance that appears to increase blood flow in the brain, helping it get the oxygen and glucose it needs. Gingko also stimulates enzymes and inhibits clotting.6 Some chiropractors theorize that maintaining spine health can “prevent damage to the neural canal”.7 Others advocate avoiding aluminum, which is thought to be “toxic to the nervous system”. Also, patients should make sure to get adequate sleep, as sleep deprivation can, in theory, “cause a person to have…an early onset of the disease”.8 Exercise can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, as it can slow memory loss.9 Finally, regular chiropractic adjustments may also help improve blood flow to the brain.10
Learn more information on elder care and chiropractic.