Sauna vs. Dementia

Here are 7 facts you may or may not know about Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia:

#1: It isn’t normal.

As we age, we can expect certain physical and mental developments, but dementia isn’t one of them. It is a disease, not a natural ageing process.

#2: It is prevalent.

As of March 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 47.5 million people worldwide had dementia. In the United States, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease, which is just one form of dementia, albeit a common form.

#3: It is growing.

In 2015, the WHO estimated that in 2030, 75.6 million people worldwide will have some form of dementia.

#4: It is expensive.

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that our country paid $236 billion in 2016 in relation to dementia. Caregivers often sacrifice from their own resources to take care of someone with dementia, and it isn’t unusual for a caregiver to lose earnings either because she has to quit her job or cut back on work hours to provide more complete care.

#5: It is stressful.

Dementia is emotionally draining for both the patient and the caregivers. In fact, about 40 percent of caregivers are depressed.

#6: It has no cure.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “In the case of most progressive dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease, there is no cure and no treatment that slows or stops its progression.” Instead, treatment of dementia focuses on its symptoms – memory loss, communication challenges, limited reasoning and judgment, etc. – trying to prevent, slow, or accommodate the disease’s progression.

#7: It may be preventable.

Preventative measures include: stay active, eat right, and protect your heart and circulatory system. Oh, and apparently there’s something else you can do to prevent the onset of dementia: develop a sauna routine.

The Study

Bluestone_manThat was the conclusion that a group of researchers in Finland recently made. Here’s a point by point summary of their study:

  • They studied over 2,300 men in their 40s, 50s, and 60s.
  • Initial examinations occurred between 1984-1989.
  • They conducted a follow-up with each participant about 20 years after the initial examination.
  • Participants fell into three categories: individuals who visited the sauna once a week, 2-3 times a week, and 4-7 times a week.
  • They found that men who visited the sauna more frequently were less likely to develop dementia.

They acknowledge that there’s still much work to be done. We need to figure out just what it is that the sauna does to the body to prevent dementing diseases. But this is a pretty incredible first step.

Sauna enthusiasts worldwide have come to love the sauna for many different reasons. And research increasingly supports that here is at least one activity that not only feels amazing but which is very good for you too.

 

 

Sources:

 

http://www.alz.org/facts/

http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/dementia/en/

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/typesofdementia

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201612/frequent-sauna-use-may-reduce-risk-dementia-study-finds

http://ageing.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/12/07/ageing.afw212.abstract

http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp

January 3, 2017 •