Hello, and welcome to Wellness Wednesday! I was able to get my first dose of the Modern Covid Vaccine today! I am sleepy, but that is because I took Benadryl prior to receiving it and will probably take a nap after I finish this post. If you read one of my posts over a year ago I stated that I never get the Flu Vaccine. That is true, I do not get the regular Flu Vaccine. But, Covid is different and I felt like the risk of getting the disease for me with CKD was a much bigger risk than getting the vaccine. So, I got one.
Today, I want to discuss balance and brain health. Our brain is arguably one of the most important organs we have, along with heart, lungs and kidneys. I can remember way back in the day when we used to do real yearly physicals. The doctor, or nurse, would perform different balance and reflex tests on you. I don’t see this occur anymore. Now, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t but it is probably fairly rare. A simple balance test can give a doctor so much information about your brain health.
Can you stand on one leg for 20 seconds with your eyes open? What about with your eyes closed? Obviously, the option with closed eyes is much harder and most people will open their eyes after only a few seconds. Try them both ways, on each leg. What were your results? I could easily do it on my right leg, but my left leg, while I could still do it, it was much more difficult. I am right sided dominant so does that explain it? Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe I have mild blood flow insufficiency on the right side of my brain. This is something I will discuss with my Primary Care Doctor when I get to see her. I am 51 years of age and this is the age I want to start thinking about my Golden Years. Some studies are starting to show a correlation between these simple balance tests and blood vessel insufficiency to the brain. The tiny blood vessels in the brain become to buildup up plaques causing blood flow to decrease. The study states that after the balance test was performed and results recorded, each participant was given a MRI of the brain, a brain scan. The participants who could not do the 20 seconds had blood flow insufficiency in the small blood vessels of the brain, as evidenced on the MRI.
Now the researchers that performed this study admitted that they controlled for Blood Pressure or Heart Disease, but did not take into consideration participants history of previous falls or physical activity levels. Muscle weakness can increase falls and it can also lead to poor balance. There are also some other medical conditions that can effect balance, such as inner ear disorders. But, with that said this is a cheap method to see if there are possible issues going on in your brain, especially if you are over age 40. If you can not perform the balance test successfully speak with your doctor to see if more tests are needed to rule out blood flow insufficiency to the brain. This test does seem to be regularly used for the diagnosis of Parkinson’s which is a form of Dementia.
Regular exercise, a healthy diet, no smoking, controlling blood pressure, and controlling fat intake may all reduce the risk of insufficient blood flow to the brain.
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