How to lose visceral fat – the ‘most important’ way to get rid of your belly fat

Visceral fat can be extremely harmful in large quantities, and it raises your chances of developing a number of conditions. But, doing aerobic exercises may help to get rid of your belly fat.

Visceral fat is more commonly known as belly fat, and it tends to wrap around your internal organs.

It’s considered a serious health problem to be carrying too much visceral fat.

That’s because the fat cells produce inflammatory markers and hormones, that increases the risk of chronic diseases.

One of the best ways to reduce your belly fat is to regularly do aerobic exercises.

Aerobic exercises are arguably the most important thing you can do to get rid of your visceral fat, according to John Hopkins Medicine.

It helps to raise your heart rate, which forces the body to use energy.

The body subsequently uses fat as a way to fuel your exercise, starting with excess visceral fat around your organs.

The best types of aerobic exercises including jogging, swimming and cycling.

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“Exercise is the key to fighting deep belly fat,” said the university.

“Add aerobic exercise as part of your way of life. This may be the most important thing you can do.

“It reduces the fat around your belly. Keep in mind that moderate exercise works the best.

“Check with your doctor before you start a new exercise plan. See your doctor first if you have not exercised before.”

You can use the ‘talk test’ to reveal whether you’re exercising hard enough to lose your belly fat, it added.

While exercising, you should be able to talk relatively comfortably.

But, you shouldn’t be able to sing at the top of your voice – that’s a sign that you’re working too hard.

You’re aiming for a “moderate” intensity workout, which will work all of the body’s muscles for a prolonged period of time.

Visceral fat starts to cause health problems straight away.

It increases your risk of developing serious, long-term life-threatening medical conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and strokes.

You should consider speaking to a doctor if your waist is more than 40 inches for men, or 35 inches for women.

Your GP will discuss the health risks of belly fat, as well as some lifestyle changes to get rid of it.

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High cholesterol symptoms: The sexual sign your ‘bad’ cholesterol levels could be too high

High cholesterol levels can be troublesome as it means there is too much ‘bad’ cholesterol floating in the blood and this could pose serious health complications. Knowing the warning signs and correcting one’s diet are some ways to reduce your risk and if you suffer with erectile dysfunction it could be due to high levels of cholesterol.

Shamir Patel, founder of Chemist 4 U said: “A symptom of high cholesterol can be erectile dysfunction, caused by the lack of blood flow.

“Another symptom may be yellowy growths under the skin of their eyelids – called xanthelasma.

“This is fatty material containing lipids, or fats, including cholesterol, and usually appear symmetrically between your eyes and nose.

“However, each of these symptoms can be other health conditions, which is why it’s so important to test your cholesterol on a regular basis.

“Call your GP if you are concerned, who can discuss your concerns.

“There are also home testing kits if you would prefer.” 

Too much bad cholesterol (also known as LDL) in the bloodstream creates arterial plaque that damages and blocks blood flow, said Boston Medical Group.

It added: “These blockages will result in inadequate circulation of blood throughout the system including the penis and genital area.

“As a result, erection problems occur. 

“The side effects of high cholesterol in men can lead to erectile dysfunction.

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“The higher your LDL levels the more likely to develop erection problems and severe cases lead to impotence.

“Also, high cholesterol can make the body more difficult to produce the necessary chemicals to create an erection. 

“High cholesterol affects the body’s ability to properly release nitric oxide into the bloodstream.

“This prevents the proper relaxation of penile tissues to cause erectile engorgement.

High cholesterol and erectile dysfunction could be an underlying cause of another health problem.

However, these problems are reversible.

High cholesterol affects testosterone production.

Testosterone is a hormone responsible for the secondary sex characteristics of men. 

High cholesterol limits blood flow to the testicles and as a result, may damage their ability to produce testosterone.

Patel added: “People with high cholesterol often don’t realise that they have it, as there are no glaringly obvious symptoms.

“However, it can be a serious health condition, because it can block your blood vessels and put you at risk of heart problems and strokes.

“Therefore, it’s important to understand and recognise the warning signs that your cholesterol may be too high.

“Firstly, consider the main risk factors: do you do little exercise, smoke, eat fatty food and drink alcohol?

“Does your family have a history of high cholesterol? If you tick a number of these factors, it puts you in the risk category, and you should keep an eye on yourself.”

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How to live longer: Why drinking this tea could boost your life expectancy

Lemongrass, also called citronella, is a tall plant that can be used as a tea. Steeped in hot water, it leaves a lemony aroma and a refreshing citrus flavour in the mouth. Here’s how it could boost your life expectancy.

Cited in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, lemongrass contains several antioxidants.

Antioxidants can help scavenge free radicals in your body that can cause disease.

According to the Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology at ACPM Dental College, in India, lemongrass showed antimicrobial properties.

In addition, researchers from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre identified two compounds in lemongrass that are thought to be responsible for its anti-inflammatory benefits: citral and geranial.

The same organisation identified lemongrass to contain anticancer properties too.

They stated: “Lab studies showed that lemongrass can lower blood pressure, and has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties.”

Supporting the claim that lemongrass reduces blood pressure are the researchers from the University of Swabi, Pakistan.

For their experiment, they recruited 72 male volunteers who were either given lemongrass or green tea to drink.

Those who drank the lemongrass tea showed a decline in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Systolic blood pressure measures the amount of force the blood hits the artery walls while the heart is beating.

The diastolic blood pressure measures the amount of force the blood hits the artery walls in between heart beats.

Combining these health benefits from drinking lemongrass tea would help to increase somebody’s life expectancy.

This makes sense, as high blood pressure puts a person at increased risk of a heart attack.

Additionally, cancer cells can be deadly and excess inflammation is linked to disease.

In order to reap the benefits of lemongrass, it’s possible to drink it as a tea.

How to make lemongrass tea

Pour one cup of boiling water over one to three teaspoons of fresh or dried lemongrass.

Steep for at least five minutes, then strain the tea. It can either be enjoyed hot or iced.

For iced lemongrass tea, simply add a few ice cubes to the cup. Most natural food stores sell loose lemongrass tea or lemongrass tea bags.

Side effects

Although lemongrass tea is considered safe, some people may be allergic to it.

An allergic reaction would result in a rash, itching, difficulty breathing or a rapid heart rate.

Should you experience an adverse reaction (and it’s very rare), do call the emergency services.

As with any beverage, drinking a healthy tea can only do so much for a person’s health.

Of course there is research outlining the benefits of sipping on lemongrass tea, but it’ll need to be paired with other healthy life decisions.

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Diabetes type 2 warning – the two sexual symptoms of high blood sugar you shouldn’t ignore

Diabetes is a common condition that affects more than four million people in the UK, and 90 percent of all cases are caused by type 2 diabetes. You could be at risk of high blood sugar if you develop either of these two symptoms, it’s been claimed.

Type 2 diabetes could be caused by the body not producing enough of the hormone insulin, or the body not reacting to insulin.

Without enough of the hormone, the body struggles to convert sugar in the blood into usable energy.

It’s crucial that if you think you may have diabetes, you speak to a doctor as soon as possible.

You could be at risk of diabetes if you develop erection problems, it’s been revealed.

Struggling to achieve or maintain an erection could be one of the earliest warning signs of high blood sugar, warned Benenden Health’s Society Matron, Cheryl Lythgoe.

It can be caused by damage to the nerves and blood vessels around the penis.

Poor long-term blood sugar control increases the risk of erectile dysfunction.

You should consider speaking to a doctor if you’ve developed problems with an erection.

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“When it comes to diabetes, there are many symptoms that should be getting our attention,” warned Lythgoe.

She told Express Health: “For example, if you struggle with one infection after another – a wound infection that won’t settle or a fungal infection such as thrush or athletes foot for example – this could be a symptom of diabetes.

“As could be episodes of blurred vision, a change to your colour vision or dark ‘floaters’ in the eyes.

“For gents, erectile problems including both achieving and maintaining an erection could also be a symptom.”

But, just because you have an episode of impotence, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have diabetes.

There are a number of causes for erectile dysfunction that could be remedied with a few lifestyle changes.

Stress, anxiety, or even drinking too much alcohol could all lead to impotence.

You could lower your risk of the symptom by simply losing weight if you’re overweight, eating a healthy diet, and by doing regular exercise.

Many people may have diabetes without even knowing it, because the signs and symptoms don’t necessarily make you feel unwell.

Common diabetes symptoms include having cuts or wounds that take longer to heal, having an unquenchable thirst, and passing more urine than normal.

You should speak to a doctor if you’re worried about the warning signs or symptoms of diabetes, or if you think you may be at risk.

Diagnosing the condition early is very important, because patients are more at risk of some deadly complications, including heart disease and strokes.

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Diabetes type 2 – surprising ‘superfood’ that could lower your risk of high blood sugar

Diabetes is a common condition that affects more than four million people in the UK, and 90 percent of all cases are caused by type 2 diabetes. You could lower your risk of high blood sugar by regularly eating full-fat Greek yoghurt, it’s been claimed.

Type 2 diabetes could be caused by the body not producing enough of the hormone insulin, or the body not reacting to insulin.

Without enough of the hormone, the body struggles to convert sugar in the blood into usable energy.

It’s crucial that if you think you may have diabetes, you speak to a doctor as soon as possible.

Making some changes to your daily diet is one of the easiest ways to manage your blood sugar levels.

Greek yoghurt is a complex superfood that’s low in sugar and carbohydrates, while being rich in protein.

Full-fat yoghurt is the better option for diabetes patients, compared to low-fat varieties, according to medical website Diabetes.co.uk.

People that eat the most Greek yoghurt have the lowest risk of insulin resistance, as well as lower blood sugar levels, scientists have added.

You can combine your Greek yoghurt with nuts and berries for the largest diabetes benefits.

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“There are certain foods that provide huge health benefits for people with diabetes,” said Diabetes.co.uk. “They are often known as ‘diabetes superfoods’.

“Greek yoghurt is one of the more complex ‘superfoods’. Certainly, it has its benefits – it’s low-carb, high-protein, and low in sugar – but the debates regarding fat content can be confusing.

“Full-fat Greek yoghurt is better for people with diabetes, which may sound strange but fat’s bad reputation isn’t justified.

“This is because there are different kinds of saturated fat. Essentially, some saturated fat particles increase the risk of heart disease, and some don’t.”

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But, if you decide to have Greek yoghurt for breakfast, you should avoid having fruit juices as an accompanying drink, warned the medical website.

Diabetes patients should limit the amount of fruit juices in their diet, it urged.

Although it’s previously been considered a healthy option, fruit juice may contain large amounts of sugar.

The sugar could directly increase blood sugar levels in diabetes patients, which may lead to hyperglycaemia.

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Many people may have diabetes without even knowing it, because the signs and symptoms don’t necessarily make you feel unwell.

Common diabetes symptoms include having cuts or wounds that take longer to heal, having an unquenchable thirst, and passing more urine than normal.

You should speak to a doctor if you’re worried about the warning signs or symptoms of diabetes, or if you think you may be at risk.

Diagnosing the condition early is very important, because patients are more at risk of some deadly complications, including heart disease and strokes.

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Hair loss warning: This popular food group could be causing your hair loss

Hair loss can be divided into two camps – permanent and temporary. In the first camp is pattern baldness, which usually runs in the family. The second camp is made up of more external factors, such as cancer treatment side effects or stress. Naturally, if your hair loss falls into this category, there is much you can do to treat it.

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One lesser known cause is your diet, which can accelerate the hair loss process.

According to Dr Sharon Wong, Consultant Dermatologist at London Bridge Hospital (part of HCA Healthcare UK), too few carbohydrates or the wrong type can spur on hair loss.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Wong said: “A vast amount of energy is required to keep up with the cell turnover of hair follicles.

“Carb free diets deplete the body of vital sources of energy and can lead to increased hair shedding.”

Conversely, noted Dr Wong, a diet that is rich in processed foods and refined carbs with high levels of simple sugars stimulates the body to produce more male hormones (androgens), which in turn can kick start the hair thinning and balding process.

Refined or simple carbohydrates include sugars and refined grains that have been stripped of all bran, fibre, and nutrients.

These include white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, white rice, sweet desserts, and many breakfast cereals.

Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are higher in fibre, digested more slowly and create less of a sugar spike and should form the basis of the carbohydrate in our diet, said Dr Wong.

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Other dietary no-no’s

Failing to pack enough protein in your diet may also spell hair loss problems later on.

Dr Wong explained: “The hair fibre is predominantly made of a protein called keratin.

“The building blocks of protein are amino acids and protein malnutrition can result in generalised hair fragility and hair loss.”

As she pointed out, essential amino acids can only be obtained in sufficient quantities through the diet.

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“These include Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, threonine, Tryptophan, Valine,” she said.

It is worth noting that Lysine also plays an important role in iron absorption, added Dr Wong.

These essential amino acids that comprise protein are naturally found in meat, eggs, tofu, soy, buckwheat, quinoa, and dairy.

Other tips to curb hair loss

According to the NHS, the main over-the-counter treatments are finasteride and minoxidil.

“Minoxidil can also be used to treat female pattern baldness. Women shouldn’t use finasteride,” explained the health body.

It worth bearing in mind that these treatments:

  • Don’t work for everyone
  • Only work for as long as they’re used
  • Aren’t available on the NHS
  • Can be expensive

Some wigs are available on the NHS, but you may have to pay unless you qualify for financial help.

“If your hair loss is causing you distress, your GP may be able to help you get some counselling,” added the NHS.

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Coronavirus warning – the subtle signs of COVID-19 infection when you use the toilet

Coronavirus is an infectious disease that has been confirmed in more than 12 million people across the world. You could be at risk of the virus if your toilet routine has changed without any obvious explanation, it’s been claimed.

The UK lockdown is slowly being eased, as shoppers are now allowed to explore the high-street in England, provided they remain socially-distanced.

You can also visit someone else’s garden, as long as the person you’re visiting isn’t shielding, and there aren’t more than six people in the garden at once.

But the government has still advised the public to remain indoors as much as possible, in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

You could be at risk of the infection if you have a subtle change to your stools.

Passing looser stools than normal may be a sign of COVID-19 infection, according to Doctor 4 U’s Dr Diana Gall.

Patients may also feel as though they’re using the toilet more often than normal.

Diarrhoea has been reported as one of the earliest symptoms of coronavirus.

Many patients may have diarrhoea in the absence of the characteristic cough or fever, and later go on to test positive, she said.

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“As with any illness, you’ll find that your energy levels have depleted and you may feel more tired than usual; fatigue is quite common with coronavirus,” said Dr Gall.

“In mild cases it’s quite possible that you’ll experience symptoms similar to other viruses such as cold and flu. This includes a headache, runny nose, aches, and pains, etc but these are general symptoms related to many different illnesses.

“Digestion problems and changes in bowel habits, particularly looser stools and making more frequent trips to the toilet are sometimes the first signs that you’re coming down with something, not just with this coronavirus.

“However, diarrhoea has been reported as an early symptom in patients who have later tested positive for COVID-19. At this stage, we know that this virus predominantly affects the respiratory system but in some cases, we’re seeing the virus affect the gastrointestinal system.”

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Diarrhoea is classed as passing looser or more frequent stools than normal for you.

But, just because you develop diarrhoea, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have coronavirus.

It’s usually nothing to worry about, and may pass after 24 hours, or up to a few days.

You should, however, speak to a doctor if your diarrhoea persists for more than three weeks.

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The most common symptoms of coronavirus include a high fever, and a new continuous cough.

Shortness of breath and a loss of smell or taste have also been linked to the infection.

Some patients have also reported a sore throat, headaches, and even a widespread rash.

More than 45,000 people have died from coronavirus in the UK.

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Chris Evert health: ‘Powerhouse vitamin’ – Wimbledon hero on how to avoid deficiency signs

Chris Evert, 65, will be appearing on the BBC One show ‘Wimbledon: The Greatest Championships’, on Saturday afternoon (2.15pm). The TV show will aim to find the greatest Wimbledon ladies’ singles final of all time.

Evert, who is a former world No 1, won a total of 21 Grand Slam titles, including 18 in singles competitions.

Her first Grand Slam came in 1974 at the French Open, and was followed just months later by her first Wimbledon title.

The US tennis legend has previously explained the importance of avoiding a vitamin D deficiency.

She revealed that she regularly drinks milk to top up on her daily vitamin D intake.

“I live in Florida and spend a tremendous amount of time outdoors and in the sun,” she said.

“Even though the sun is a natural source of vitamin D, I make sure that my diet includes the necessary five servings of dairy each day.

“Vitamin D is a powerhouse vitamin. It supports bone strength, brain function, heart health and your immune system. Some people even say it brightens your smile.

“If something doesn’t taste good, we are not going to drink it. My favourite milk brand is Hood Simply Smart Milk. It has all the taste of full-fat milk, without the fat.”

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Vitamin D is crucial to the overall health of the body, as it helps to keep muscles, bones and teeth healthy, said the NHS.

The vitamin is needed to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body.

A lack of vitamin D can lead to serious complications, including osteomalacia, rickets, or some deformities.

Making just a few easy diet swaps could help to lower your chances of developing a deficiency.

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In the UK, regular cows’ milk isn’t a good source of vitamin D, however.

Other countries have been known to fortify their milk with the so-called ‘sunshine’ vitamin, whereas in the UK, that’s not the case.

If you want to boost the amount of vitamin D in your diet, try eating more oily fish.

Salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are all very good sources of vitamin D, while egg yolks and liver could also increase your daily intake.

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Those most at risk of a vitamin D deficiency are the elderly, people that are overweight, and those that rarely venture outside.

Everyone should aim for between 8.5 and 10mcg of vitamin D in a single day, said the NHS.

During the winter months, the sun isn’t strong enough for your body to make vitamin D.

It’s therefore usually recommended that everyone takes vitamin D supplements during these months to increase the amount in their diet.

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Dementia: The diet shown to be a ‘powerful weapon’ against brain decline

Dementia comes in numerous forms but the most common is Alzheimer’s disease. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease develop gradually over many years and eventually become more severe. Memory problems – usually the first sign – can begin with forgetting a recent conversation and may culminate in forgetting who your loved ones are. The decline is heartbreaking but research suggests you can (to an extent) protect yourself against it.

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Research shedding light on one of the factors that causes Alzheimer’s has also presented new ways of safeguarding against it.

In a research paper conducted by Professor Michael T. Heneka, of the Department of Neurology, University Hospital Bonn, Germany, and his co-authors, inflammation in the brain – known as neuroinflammation, was highlighted as a marker of Alzheimer’s disease.

According to Dr. Scuderi and her co-authors in the research paper, inflammation is an important component of Alzheimer’s disease because of the body’s immune reaction to initial abnormal deposits in brain cells.

Rather than making things better, however, this immune reaction that causes inflammation can rapidly develop to the point where it promotes the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, the research states.

This development has prompted researchers to investigate ways to counter brain inflammation.

According to Dr Fred Pescatore, a natural health physician based in New York and bestselling author of ‘The A List Diet’ and ‘Feed Your Kids Well’, one of the most promising countermeasures is to eat a ketogenic diet.

“The ketogenic diet is one of your most powerful weapons against brain inflammation,” he said, speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk.

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat.

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This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis, which can supply energy to your brain.

As Dr Pescatore reported, in a recent pilot study, researchers placed 15 subjects with mild Alzheimer’s on a ketogenic diet for three months.

They assessed cognitive function before the diet period, immediately after the diet period, and then a month later once the subjects had resumed their usual diets.

“Among these subjects, ten were able to achieve sustained ketosis,” he said.

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These patients showed significant cognitive improvement when compared to the five patients who didn’t follow the diet closely enough, noted Dr Pescatore.

Those who achieved sustained ketosis experienced a four-point increase in the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale Test (ADAS Cog), which is used to measure memory, language, and praxis, he said.

Other tips to reduce your risk

The latest research suggests that other factors are also important, although this does not mean these factors are directly responsible for causing dementia.

These include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Untreated depression (although this can also be a symptom of dementia)
  • Loneliness or social isolation
  • A sedentary lifestyle

The research concluded that by modifying all the risk factors we are able to change, our risk of dementia could be significantly reduced.

Furthermore, there’s some evidence to suggest that rates of dementia are lower in people who remain mentally and socially active throughout their lives.

Interventions such as “brain training” computer games have been shown to improve cognition over a short period, but research has not yet demonstrated whether this can help prevent dementia.

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Dementia symptoms: The ‘inappropriate’ sign you have it

Dementia is an umbrella term for a cluster of symptoms associated with an ongoing brain decline. There are over 200 subtypes of dementia, but the five most common are: Alzheimer’s disease; vascular dementia; dementia with Lewy bodies; frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and mixed dementia. Identifying the specific type of dementia one has can be tricky because there are many overlapping symptoms. Memory loss spans across the subtypes, for example.

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The key difference is that some forms of brain decline do not initially affect the region of the brain responsible for memory.

This means that memory loss appears further into the form of certain forms of dementia.

One example of this is frontotemporal dementia, which primarily affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

As Mayo Clinic explains, these areas of the brain are generally associated with personality, behaviour and language.

According to the health body, the most common signs of frontotemporal dementia involve extreme changes in behaviour and personality but rarer forms are characterised by problems with movement.

One movement-related sign is inappropriate laughter.

Other movement-related problems include:

  • Tremor
  • Rigidity
  • Muscle spasms
  • Poor coordination
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Muscle weakness

Can it be treated?

Unfortunately, there’s currently no cure for frontotemporal dementia or any treatment that will slow it down.

There are interventions you can make to reduce your risk of developing it, however.

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Frontotemporal dementia has one known risk factor: genetics.

Research published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association suggests exercise can reduce the risk, even in those that carry the genetic mutation.

The study involved 105 people who carry the genetic mutation that causes FTD.

All were either asymptomatic or had mild, early-stage symptoms. Also included were 69 people who did not carry the genetic mutation.

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Participants took a series of cognitive and memory tests. They were questioned about current levels of mental and physical activity. That included such things as socialising, reading, and walking.

MRIs of the brain were used to assess the degree of brain degeneration.

Follow-up MRI scans one year into the study showed that lifestyle did not have a significant impact on brain degeneration due to frontotemporal dementia.

However, those who were most mentally and physically active did twice as well on cognitive tests than those who were least active.

Genetic mutation carriers who had more active lifestyles were found to have more than 55 percent slower decline per year.

Dr. Rawan Tarawneh, a cognitive neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, was encouraged by the findings.

“It’s fascinating because we’ve seen the role of physical activity in maintaining brain health in Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. There hasn’t been another study of this size and meticulous analysis in FTD,” Tarawneh told Healthline.

She added: “It was well-designed, had a well-characterized cohort, and strong data. It covers a major gap in the field right now.

“It’s timely with our focus on physical health and mindfulness and mental exercise, particularly for people who have mutations that increase risk for conditions like FTD.”

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