Our brains are an integral part of who we are, so when we begin to forget things, we usually become frustrated and then panic. “What if this is the beginning of Alzheimer’s?” we think.
The first stage of memory loss is called subjective cognitive impairment, when we feel something isn’t quite right. Age related memory loss often begins in our 30’s and 40’s, when processing speed begins to slow. At menopause, women typically experience hormone-related fogginess and memory lapses, which diminish over time with other menopausal symptoms. However, when we know our memory truly has declined and we begin to socialize less because of it, it’s time to seek help.
Years ago, it made sense to keep quiet about memory problems. There was nothing that could be done to help a deteriorating brain, and the desire was to live as normal a life as possible for as long as possible. We covered up our lapses, and friends and spouses played along, providing support.
This is no longer the best course of action. Research shows those with mild cognitive impairment who get treated have the best chance of fully restoring their brain function. Many causes of memory loss and dementia are known, and can be evaluated and treated. Everything from sugar-laden diets and a sedentary lifestyle, to infections and toxins that cause inflammation, and untreated sleep and trauma issues, may play a role. If you are noticing a change in your brain function, get help, as early intervention is the best treatment.
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