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Being Fat can Cause Dementia

dementia-caused-by-being-fatNot sexy and not hot but it’s true: being fat can cause dementia.

Not Alzheimer’s true – the cause of that is not yet fully understood though is known by many as Diabetes of the brain. On the other hand the roots of vascular dementia are well understood.  This is the second biggest cause of dementia in the UK (over 200,000 diagnosed)  and is caused by vascular disease…..caused when the blood supply to and within the brain is disrupted or damaged.  Blocked blood vessels and general damage to the vascular system..just like heart disease and just as debilitating.

Vascular disease can cause damage to any part of the brain – where ever the blood flow blockage occurs.  So depending on what part of the brain is damaged, you may lose cognitive function (such as perception), physical function or memory loss.  Like suddenly coming too in Tescos and not knowing for the life of you what money is for or where you are.

There is a crucial difference between vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s and you need to know this.  The causes of vascular dementia are  in most cases preventable!

And that is, anything that causes the arteries to clog up  and stops the blood supply from flowing adequately: smoking, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, obesity, lack of regular exercise, hypertension you name it,  all those factors that can cause cardiac disease can cause this disease too.  Lifestyle factors increase the risk of heart disease and increase the risk of dementia.  According to the Alzheimer’s Society, if you smoke you double your risk, if you have high blood pressure your risk is up to three times higher and your risk is further increased if you have diabetes.

Here, though is the good news.  Lifestyle changes may well reduce your risk, postpone and/or even prevent the onset of vascular dementia.  Don’t think that dementia is inevitable….you do have a choice.  You need to change up the odds in your favour and actively reduce your risk: lose weight, quit smoking, drink responsibly and take regular exercise…it’s not much is it?  And it’s what our clients do at Paleo Works! It’s easier than you think.

If you are reading this then, like us you are chasing optimal health.  If your Doctor has told you that you are at risk of heart disease then you are also at risk of vascular dementia.

We urge you to consider this: your lifestyle can affect your future.  You have the opportunity to make a difference every time you place food into your mouth and if you take only one thing away from this post make it this: being fat can cause dementia.

Weight Loss and Sleep


Weight loss: are you getting enough sleep?   It’s a serious question..Take a look at this:

It’s 2004 (6 December 2004) and the headline reads:

“Sleep loss, appetite and weight gain”

Did you see it?  The article goes on to confirm  that researchers at the University of Chicago  have found that partial sleep deprivation alters the circulating levels of the hormones that regulate hunger, causing an increase in appetite and a preference for calorie-dense, high-carbohydrate foods.

So this study (published in the 7 Dec. 2004 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine), gives us a mechanism linking sleep loss to the current epidemic of obesity.

In the experiment, research subjects (who slept only four hours a night for two nights) had an 18 percent decrease in leptin, the hormone that tells the brain there is no need for more food, and a 28 percent increase in ghrelin, the hormone that triggers hunger.

The study volunteers, all healthy young men, reported a 24 percent increase in appetite, with a surge in desire for sweets, such as candy and cookies, salty foods such as chips and nuts, and starchy foods such as bread and pasta.  Aha!

“This is the first study to show that sleep is a major regulator of these two hormones and to correlate the extent of the hormonal changes with the magnitude of the hunger change,” said Professor-Eve-Van-CauterEve Van Cauter, PhD, Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago. “It provides biochemical evidence connecting the trend toward chronic sleep curtailment to obesity and its consequences, including metabolic syndrome and diabetes.”

Need more convincing?  Take a look at this study on 5 and 6 year old children that concluded the prevalence of obesity was increased as sleep amount decreased, independently of other factors..Or this study of sleep deprived animals that showed a strong preference for a high- carbohydrate diet.  Scientists have known for years that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and obesity: are you getting enough?

“Our modern industrial society seems to have forgotten the importance of sleep,” Van Cauter said. “We are all under pressure to perform, in school, at work, in social and professional settings, and tempted by multiple diversions. There is a sense that you can pack in more of life by skimping on sleep. But we are finding that people tend to replace reduced sleep with added calories, and that’s not a healthy trade.”

It could explain why so many of us who are chronically sleep-deprived also are overweight. And it could be part of the reason sleepy new parents, stay-up-late college students and shift workers pile on the pounds.

Sound familiar?  Does pressure of work and limited “down time” make you want to trade in your sleep time for more TV?  It’s a small change to your routine but the pay-off can be spectacular in terms of cravings and hunger..try it and see!

Weight loss and sleep, tell us how it’s working for you?  Sharing is fun!

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