Mind & Body
5 Common Causes Of Cognitive Impairment (Aside From Age)
Cognitive impairment is a natural feature of aging. As we get older, our memories start to suffer and things slow down in our brains. Unfortunately, there isn’t a huge amount you can do about that, apart from living a healthy lifestyle in order to slow cognitive decline.
However, cognitive impairment doesn’t just happen as a result of age. If you are still relatively young but you have noticed a significant change to your memory, your attention span, and your ability to make decisions, it’s likely that there is something else going on. That means, in most cases, you can make some simple changes to improve the problem. These are some of the most common things that cause cognitive impairment, aside from age.
Poor circulation is not often talked about when people discuss cognitive decline. However, it can severely impact your ability to make decisions and retain memories as you get older. For example, when you have poor circulation, cells don’t receive oxygen-rich blood the way that they should, so they begin to malfunction or die earlier than necessary.
In other words, it’s like leaving your computer in a room without any air-conditioning. It will still run, but not as well as it should.
Poor circulation often comes with age and other conditions such as diabetes, smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure. It is also very common after heart attacks or strokes. The good news is, if you treat the underlying cause of this condition, your memory should improve.
If you think you may have an issue with poor circulation, speak to your doctor to check that there are no underlying causes. You can also make simple changes to your diet and incorporate more foods that increase blood flow and help you get more oxygen to the brain. Exercise is also a great way to boost your overall health and improve your circulation at the same time.
Bad nutrition is one of the biggest causes of cognitive impairment, and it is particularly important to treat if you have been struggling with low energy or poor memory for a long time. For example, evidence shows that people who are deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, folate, magnesium and Vitamin E all perform more poorly on tests of memory and cognitive function than people who are not deficient.
Getting more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet is crucial. You can also take nutritional supplements on a daily basis to make sure that your brain is getting everything it needs to function effectively.
Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are also known to impact cognitive function. People who suffer from these conditions often find it harder to concentrate, and they have more difficulty identifying patterns or making decisions than those with good mental health.
If you are concerned about your mental health, speak to your doctor right away. They may prescribe medications to deal with the symptoms and they will also recommend talking therapies to help you manage your mental health more effectively.
Similar to depression and anxiety, a lack of sleep can cause cognitive impairment. All too often, people go without enough sleep on a consistent basis because they are busy with work or they are stressed out.
The truth is that your brain needs sleep every single day in order to function properly. Without enough rest, you are more likely to make poor decisions and struggle with a number of cognitive functions, including memory.
To help you sleep better at night, keep your bedroom dark and quiet, avoid using electronics an hour before bedtime, work on managing your stress levels and try to ensure that you give yourself enough time in the morning to wake up slowly.
This one might seem obvious, but people often don’t realize how much their drinking is impacting their mental health and cognitive function. In fact, if you drink more than the recommended limits on a regular basis, you are putting yourself at risk of developing memory problems and even dementia. Over time, these conditions can become worse as alcohol damages the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that controls memory.
If you are concerned about your alcohol consumption, speak to a doctor or a counselor. They will help you come up with strategies to reduce how much you drink and they can also point you in the direction of organizations that offer support for people who want to stop drinking altogether.
It is inevitable that your brain function slows down as you get older. But if you notice a significant change, it’s likely that one of these things is causing it and you need to take steps to rectify the problem.