Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Losing My Mind

I fear losing my mind. Alzheimer’s is a very prevalent disease on my father’s side of the family. As the disease progressed and eventually took my father’s life, I experienced  frustration with my inability to do anything to prevent my father’s mental deterioration. All my mother, brothers, and I could do was to make him as comfortable as possible, to provide safe surroundings, and to demonstrate how much we loved him.

Alzheimer’s is such an insidious disease because the brain actually deteriorates. I’ve seen pictures of the brain of a person with this disease. The affected brain has holes which are left when surrounding brain tissue stuck together in an unnatural manner. It is impossible to restore the brain matter which has been destroyed. I fear this?

I try to keep up with the latest information about how to avoid Alzheimer’s as there is no known cure, and it tends to run in families. The current information is only about how to retard its development and to slow its destruction of brain tissue.

Current advice says to control cholesterol, control weight, control blood pressure, eat fruit (especially berries), and exercise. Sounds like living a controlled, healthy life. Self-control is one of the lessons God’s Word teaches.

 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.” Titus 2:11-12  ESV

Not only does advise for slowing or avoiding Alzheimer’s involve living a physically healthy life, but it also admonishes us to live a mentally healthy life. It has something to do with our ability to keep mental pathways healthy and to retain the ability to build new connections in the brain if old ones become unavailable.  The advice of brain experts is to think, problem solve, and learn to do new things.  Suggestions generally include doing crossword puzzles, learning a new language, and learning to play a musical instrument for which you have no skill. In other words, keep learning. Actively involve your brain.

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness.”  2 Peter 1:5-6  ESV

I see no guarantees, but if I remain active, have a healthy lifestyle, and avoid gluttony I may stand a chance of greatly delaying if not totally avoiding the Alzheimer’s curse.

So, I intend to follow God’s plan for living.

Lord, thank you for giving me workable and sensible guidelines for living this life well. Give me the willingness to do as you direct.

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