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All Posts Tagged: brain

Good brain Better balance

Good brain, Better balance

Good Brain = Better Balance

Do you wobble if you stand on one foot? How about with your eyes closed? If you walk in a straight heel-to-toe line do you stumble? How about with your eyes closed? If you stand with your feet together and close your eyes do you sway to one side? Do you walk with a wide gait, or feel like you’re going to fall if you don’t hold the handrail going down the stairs? If you answered yes to any of these questions you have balance issues that could be a sign of compromised brain health and increased risk of dementia later in life.

Do you wobble if you stand on one foot? How about with your eyes closed? If you walk in a straight heel-to-toe line do you stumble? How about with your eyes closed? If you stand with your feet together and close your eyes do you sway to one side? Do you walk with a wide gait, or feel like you’re going to fall if you don’t hold the handrail going down the stairs? If you answered yes to any of these questions you have balance issues that could be a sign of compromised brain health and increased risk of dementia later in life.

Balance is governed largely by the cerebellum, the area at the base of the brain that also helps with precision, coordination, and timing of motor movements. The cerebellum is one of the most continually active areas of the brain because not only does it keep you from falling over, it also processes information from gravity.

A healthy cerebellum is important because it constantly feeds a steady stream of information to the entire brain, which is necessary for overall good brain health and function.

This is where problems can occur. When cerebellum function begins to break down, causing such symptoms as worsening balance, this impacts the stream of information going to the rest of the brain. For instance, a healthy cerebellum regulates this stream of information so as not to flood the brain. When the cerebellum degenerates, it can overwhelm the brain with excess input.

This can cause problems in other areas of the brain with symptoms that may seem totally unrelated to balance, including restless leg syndrome, tinnitus, being hyper sensitive to stress, depression, fatigue, anxiety, and many more. These are signs the brain is functioning poorly and degenerating too quickly, increasing the risk of dementia or Parkinson’s later in life.

You’re never too young or too fit to work on improving your balance as it’s a great way to help protect and preserve brain health.

How to improve your cerebellum health

There are several ways to protect the health of your cerebellum. One is to perform balance exercises, such as the ones listed in the first paragraph. Yoga and tai chi are also beneficial. As your balance improves or if you are already athletic, continually challenge yourself, such as by doing your balance exercises on a wobble board or Bosu ball. Just be safe!

Follow an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. The brain is very sensitive to inflammation, including the cerebellum. Junk foods, sugars and processed carbohydrates, lack of sleep, too much stress, lack of exercise — these are all factors that can accelerate degeneration in the cerebellum and the rest of the brain

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Hands and Feet- Brain

Hands and Feet- Brain

What your hands and feet say about your brain

Although your hands and feet are located the farthest distance from your brain, the health of your feet and hands can give you clues about the health of your brain, mainly whether your brain is receiving enough oxygen. When blood circulation to your most distal extremities is poor, this is a red flag circulation to the brain is compromised as well. Just because you can breathe doesn’t mean your brain is getting enough oxygen.

If your brain is not getting enough oxygen it won’t function well. You may notice brain fog, declining memory, that you tire more easily, and that it is harder to learn new things. Depression is another common symptom. Poor brain oxygen is a serious matter because it accelerates degeneration of your brain—vascular dementia from lack of blood flow to the brain is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s.

Feet and hand symptoms that could point to problems in your brain

Cold toes and feet. If your feet and toes are colder than your ankles or calves, this means circulation is poor to your feet, and hence to your brain. It’s hard to measure your own skin temperature so have someone else compare the temperature of your calves and ankles with that of your feet and toes. The small vessels that supply blood to your feet and hands which keep them warm and pink are the exact same vessels that also supply blood to the brain. The same vasoconstriction(blood vessels shrinking) or dilation(expanding) of blood vessels that occurs in your distal extremities is also occurring in your brain. Cold fingers and a cold nose are common as well.

Chronic fungal growth in toenails

Do you have chronic fungal nail infections, or chronic athlete’s foot? When circulation is poor the blood is not able to carry oxygen, immune cells, and nutrients to the feet to keep them healthy. As a result, infections can take root and be difficult to impossible to banish while circulation is poor. General nail health will also be poor. This is a sign circulation in your brain is also compromised.

White nail beds; poor capillary refill time

The nail beds of your toes should be a healthy pink color. If they are pale or white this is another symptom of poor circulation. Also, when you press down on a nail bed it turns white, but the pink color should return instantly. If it takes a few seconds for the color to return, this means blood flow to the nails is poor, as is blood flow to the brain.

Foot cramps

Sometimes people with poor circulation get foot cramps that seem impossible to relieve. This is because there is not enough blood and oxygen flowing to the muscles in the feet. They may also get cramps in their hands. Again, these are signs blood flow to the brain may be poor.

How to restore blood flow to your feet and your brain

It’s important to rule out a health condition that can cause poor blood flow to your feet, such as hypothyroidism, anemia, a heart condition, diabetes, or low blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is considered 120/80. If either number is 10 or more points below that it means blood is not getting pushed into these more distant capillaries of the feet and brain. People with low blood pressure typically also have low blood sugar (reactive hypoglycemia) and adrenal fatigue, a condition in which their stress response system is worn out.

It’s important to stabilize blood sugar by avoiding sugars and processed carbohydrates and not skipping meals. Exercise is great for increasing circulation, especially short bursts of high-intensity exercise. Also, a variety of nutritional compounds can support blood flow to your feet and your brain.

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