There is certainly nothing to feel comfortable about observing your mental health is no longer as it used to be. But decline in mental or cognitive function is a common occurrence with age. Of course, some potentially unsettling symptoms come with this.
What are the factors that contribute to mental decline? Why do people have this problem as they get older? What actions can you take to protect against it? Read on to learn more.
Put simply, mental decline is the progressive loss of mental abilities as a person gets older. This is a normal thing with aging. But the decline can be so abrupt and significant in some individuals. And the effects of this can unsettle affected persons and their loved ones.
Mental decline gives rise to memory issues. It is an indication that your brain is not working as well as it should. This may be the result of some disorder or an event, including:
• Dementia, most notably Alzheimer's disease
• Brain injury or damage
Mental decline may not always bring about sudden changes in function. These usually occur gradually, extending across years. The issues or inconveniencies that can result include:
It is obvious from these symptoms that mental decline has the potential to adversely impact a person's quality of life.
Mental decline and memory issues are more of a problem as a person gets older. Aging itself is not the problem. Generally, the brain will not function efficiently in conditions that are not friendly. Mental function will suffer in any person if the brain doesn't get adequate nutrients.
Changes that occur with age are a major factor in cognitive decline. Hormone levels fall and certain structural alterations occur. The cortex begins to shrink, same as some nerve cells. Furthermore, there is a reduction in neuronal connections and blood flow. Effects of free radical damage over time start to manifest as well.
These changes aren't the only concerns from aging. In addition, getting older increases your risk of developing conditions that could harm mental function – for example, Alzheimer's.
Thankfully, you don't have to accept mental decline as something you cannot do anything about. There are steps you can take to fight memory issues. If you were to approach your doctor, chances are that you will be placed on medications. Antidepressants are among the common recommendations.
But drugs aren't always the best options. They could also come with side effects since they are only chemicals. You may be better off with lifestyle changes. Following are some tips you can use.
You need to pay more attention to what you eat, especially as you enter middle age. It is time to say goodbye to junk or processed foods, if you usually eat lots of those. Stick to the classic advice of maintaining a balanced diet.
Consume more of fresh fruits and green, leafy vegetables. These are high in antioxidants. You need these to check the harmful impact of free radicals on cells in the body, including the brain. Research actually shows that eating foods loaded with antioxidants can improve your memory.
Omega-3 fatty acids will also be beneficial, according to available evidence. So, you want to include more fish rich in such in your diet.
It is well known that exercise plays vital roles in ensuring good health and wellness. When it comes to dealing with mental decline, it helps by improving blood flow to the brain. This is especially good news for obese individuals who are usually at greater risk of poor circulation.
In addition to improving cognitive function, exercise can also help you have better mood. This of itself may further enhance your mental health.
Note that exercise doesn't refer strictly to that relating to the body, but also to your brain. Do things that put your brain to work. Try memorizing names, places, lines and so on. This may be hard initially, but will become easier with regular practice.
Medical experts have repeatedly highlighted the dangers of stress. Some describe it as a silent killer. But stress is not entirely bad as you might think. It has its benefits, including helping you to stay mentally alert.
The real problem is when it becomes a chronic, ever-present condition. In this case, it interferes with memory formation and recall. The hormones associated to stress can actually cause death of neurons and shrink the brain. While these changes are not entirely unusual in older people, the condition worsens them.
It is, therefore, important that you do things to keep harmful stress under control. When feeling stressed, try to spend some time away from the stressor. Take time to relax every now and again. Do things that take your mind off your trouble, at least for some time.
Stress and anxiety are somewhat inseparable. Researchers say you will improve your learning capability and recall capacity by keeping anxiety well in check.
If you think sleep is for the lazy, you need to think again. It can actually save your life. When you sleep, your body is refreshed. Healing takes place and different parts, including your brain, are put in order. Your brain processes information and consolidates memory while you get quality sleep. You miss out on all of this when you don’t get enough.
It may not be possible to get all the nutrients you need from your diet all the time. Therefore, you may need to use supplements from time to time. Vitamin C, D and E will help here. Supplements containing the powerful antioxidant resveratrol, which is present in red wine, can also be useful.
But if you wish to use a supplement that is primarily for boosting brain power, you may check out Brain Pill. This product by Leading Edge Health contains ingredients that are clinically proven to enhance brain health. The maker of Brainpill says it gives you an “Unfair Advantage.” It improves your mood and makes you feel positive about life. Ken Jennings of Jeopardy! fame is one of notable people who recommend it.
You may also want to look into raising your HGH levels using a growth hormone supplement like Genf20 Plus. HGH drops in levels as you grow older. The decline means that your body is less able to correct or repair damage done by free radicals. By using a quality supplement, such as GenF20 Plus, you can boost GH levels and improve brain health. This may help with repair or regeneration of brain cells. Growth hormone can also be beneficial for improving your mood.
Mental decline isn’t exactly something you can prevent entirely. It is practically impossible for anyone to escape it. The most you can do is to slow the rate at which it progresses. This way, you can have better control over the inconveniences that usually come with the condition. A healthy diet, regular exercise, quality sleep and effective management of stress will help a great deal in improving your mental health.
Memory Changes in Older Adults
What Is Cognitive Decline? - Definition, Causes & Symptoms | Study.com (http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-cognitive-decline-definition-causes-symptoms.html)
Signs and Symptoms of a Cognitive Problem – Causes and Effects (http://www.psychguides.com/guides/cognitive-problem-symptoms-causes-and-effects/)
Ten Ways to Slow Mental Decline with Age | Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/memory-medic/201209/ten-ways-slow-mental-decline-age-1)
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