Ayurveda positive for vulnerable elderly people who suffer from dementia
An elderly woman was very weak, insecure, had problems speaking, with her memory and physical activity, and was suffering from depression. After an examination, a geriatrician established the diagnosis: dementia. Due to a history of heart and vascular diseases, vascular dementia was suspected.
Three days after the diagnosis of dementia, the woman slipped into a coma and was hospitalised for ten days. When she arrived home, she fell down again. Following consultations with the family doctor, the family opted for a combined treatment based on western medicine and Ayurveda. Gradually, a physical, emotional and mental improvement was observed. After three months, she was walking using a walker, which also resulted in a cognitive improvement. Another three months later, she was walking with Nordic walking sticks. She used fewer medicines. Mentally, emotionally and physically she remained reasonably stable, whereas other elderly people living in the same old people´s home were deteriorating physically and mentally, developed aggressive behaviour or have died.
Relation to other disorders
In the elderly, dementia is often accompanied by frailty or weakness. Dementia most commonly occurs in elderly people over 65. Elderly people of 85 years and older have a 50 per cent risk of developing dementia. Dementia at a younger age is less common. Studies have shown that the risk of dementia is increased by for instance heart and vascular diseases, smoking, diabetes type 2, obesity and head trauma. The risk of dementia is reduced by education, relaxation, a Mediterranean diet and physical exercise.
Worldwide, every four seconds someone is diagnosed with dementia. As the disease progresses, more care is required. This demands a great deal from the person who is suffering from dementia and from the people around him or her. The number of people suffering from dementia is expected to increase further. The total costs of dementia are the highest of all chronic diseases. To date, western medicine has not provided any method or medicines capable of stabilising or reversing the process. Psycho-pharmaceuticals are regularly used against the disease, in spite of the fact that severe side-effects are known and their use is advised against.
The traditional healing method of Ayurveda, which is more than five thousand years old is based on a holistic approach. Diet and lifestyle, as well as the spiritual dimension such as the use of mantras meditation and yoga play an important role in maintaining health. Their integration in western medicine and other complementary and alternative medicine is therefore highly important to find a solution that can prevent, stabilise and perhaps even reverse dementia. The results of the case described above are very promising.
I look forward to the Alzheimer Symposium on 5 June with much interest. Perhaps the congress will start with a meditation to open our minds to new neural methods. This way, perhaps more will become known about the causes of dementia, and a solution can be found.
The Alzheimer Symposium The Future of Brain Health will be held in Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam on 5 June. Skipr readers can visit the Alzheimer Symposium with a discount. The discount code is SKIPR0506. Register here.