Like other parts of your body, your brain may lose some agility as you get older. It can deteriorate even more if you don’t take care of it. The health of your brain plays a critical role in almost everything you do: thinking, feeling, remembering, working, playing and even sleeping. You can take steps to keep your brain healthy and reduce your risk of getting dementia. Here are things you should do to keep your brain fit:
- Keep physically active
- Adopt a brain healthy diet
- Remain socially active
- Stay mentally active
Keep your brain active every day:
- Stay curious and involved – commit to lifelong learning
- Read, write, work crossword or other puzzles
- Attend lectures and plays
- Enroll in courses at your local adult education centre, community college or other community group.
- Play games
- Try memory exercises
A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is interrupted. It is a potentially life-threatening condition that needs immediate medical attention. If the supply of blood to the brain is restricted or stopped, the brain cells will begin to die. This can lead to brain damage and possibly death.
If you think you, or someone you know is suffering from a stroke DO NOT CALL your doctor please immediately call 999 for an ambulance.
- Face: is there weakness on one side of their face?
- Arms: can they raise both arms?
- Speech: is their speech easily understood?
- Time: to call 999.
You can reduce your risk of having a stroke by:
- Know your Blood Pressure
- Stop Smoking
- Reduced alcohol intake
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get an NHS Health Check if you are between 40-74
For more information on stroke see visit NHS Choices.
Meningitis is inflammation of the lining covering your brain and spinal cord. It is usually caused by an infection. Bacterial meningitis is a serious condition and you should contact a health professional immediately if you or a family member have the following symptoms; fever, headache, stiff neck, photophobia (eyes sensitive to light), lethargy or a non-blanching rash (when the rash does NOT disappear when you press on it).
For more information on Meningitis:
- Don’t ignore the signs of Meningitis leaflet.
- Meningitis rash glass test
- NHS Choices – Meningitis
- Meningitis Trust
- Brain & Spine – Meningitis
Dementia is a decline in mental ability which affects memory, thinking, problem-solving, concentration and perception. Dementia occurs as a result of the death of brain cells or damage in parts of the brain that deal with our thought processes. Rates of dementia vary between men and women and between age groups. Dementia in people under 65 is known as early onset or pre-senile dementia and is rare.
There is no cure for dementia and there are different causes however, dementia is almost invariably a disease of ageing called Alzheimer’s dementia.
If you are worried you may have dementia or a member of your family, please consult with your doctor who will do an initial assessment and if needed refer you to the local dementia services.
For more information and advice about dementia see these websites:
- NHS Choices – Alzheimer’s
- Patient UK – Memory Loss and Dementia
- Alzheimer’s UK
- Dementia UK
- AGE UK – Dementia
- Demential Challenge
- Young Dementia UK
- Dementia Friends
- Dementia Care
- Mental Health
Epilepsy is a condition that causes recurring seizures. Seizures happen when there is too much electrical activity in your brain. This causes messages in your brain to become mixed up or stopped and can lead to changes in your movement, senses, memory, mood or level of consciousness.
For more information and support on epilepsy visit NHS Choices.
Seizure First Aid
Witnessing a seizure can be frightening if you do not know what to do. If you have a family member or a friend who has epilepsy it is always good to be prepared and know how to deal with a seizure. See these websites on doing first aid for seizures:
Epilepsy and Driving
You must inform the DVLA that you have epilepsy or risk a fine. For more information see these websites:
If you have a condition affecting the brain, spine or nervous system see this booklet for advice on how to get the best from neurological services.
Download Getting the best from neurological services booklet for more information.