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Reasons For Memory Loss

Whether it is an occasional lapse, or a more common occurrence, that can be a surprising number of reasons why it is happening.

AnnA Rushton

We all suffer from occasional memory loss, brain fog or brain freeze – and sadly it is more common at Menopause.

Here are some of the most common reasons you may experience it.

Hormone imbalance

Progesterone has a calming effect on the brain, as well as a protective effect by reducing swelling and improving mental clarity after a traumatic brain injury.

Will oestrogen dominance is present, which is common at Menopause, then when progesterone levels are too low resulting symptoms include mood swings and memory loss, weight gain and low libido.

Poor Sleep

First, it’s harder to recall things when you haven’t slept and one of the major problems for many women at Menopause is a disturbance in the regular sleep pattern.

Second, sleep strengthens the bonds between brain cells that help you remember for the long term.

Third, it’s harder to form memories in the first place when your mind is wandering because of a lack of sleep.

Good “sleep hygiene” can help: Aim for 8 hours a night, exercise daily, stick to a regular sleep schedule, and avoid alcohol and caffeine late in the day.

Stress

stress impact every single bodily function, and certainly when you are stressed you are less able to think clearly or make decisions.

So what can be helpful is to try and identify your own particular stress triggers, and take action to reduce them where you can.

It can often be as simple as taking a moment and taking some deep slow breaths, giving yourself time to relax with a good book or some music, or catching up with friends.

You know what best helps you, so try and do something every day to reduce your stress levels.

Medication

Drugs that sedate you, like sleep aids and tranquillisers, can weaken your memory, as you might imagine.

But so can less obvious culprits, like blood pressure meds, antihistamines, and antidepressants.

Plus, you may react differently than someone else to the same pill or combination of pills.

Tell your doctor about any memory issues when you start a new medication as they may be able to adjust the dose or prescribe an alternative.

Diabetes

People with the disease are more likely to develop memory problems including dementia.

It may be that high blood sugar damages tiny blood vessels called capillaries in the brain. Or it may be that high insulin damages brain cells.

Scientists continue to study the issue. You might be able to slow this memory decline if you try to prevent or at least control your diabetes with medicine, exercise, and a healthy diet.

Genes

The traits you got from your parents help determine when and if your memory starts to fade and whether you get dementia. But it’s not simple.

Genetics seem to matter more in some types of dementia than others, and a gene that affects memory in one person might have no effect in another.

A genetic test from your doctor might have some useful information if you know there is a family history or predisposition for this.

Age

Nothing really to be done about this, as memory tends to get worse as you get older. Whether it’s remembering where you put your keys, or a common phone number you use regularly, this is an experience that’s common to many of us.

Doctors call it dementia when it starts to interfere with daily life and the number of people with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, doubles every 5 years after age 65.

Your genes play a part in why this happens, but so do things like diet, exercise, social life, and conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Heart Disease

Plaque builds up in your arteries and slows blood flow to your brain and other organs. This is called atherosclerosis.

It can make it harder to think clearly and remember things. It also could lead to a heart attack or stroke, which both also raise your chances of dementia.

Even if you don’t yet have heart disease, possible causes — smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure — make dementia more likely.

Stroke

A stroke stops the flow of blood to part of your brain so that damaged brain tissue can make it hard to think, speak, remember, or pay attention.

This is called vascular dementia and they can also happen with a series of small strokes over time.

Things that raise your risk of stroke like high blood pressure, heart disease, and smoking may also cause this type of dementia.

If you think you’re having a stroke, remember FAST: Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech problems. Do not hesitate, but call for immediate help from the emergency services.

Smoking

Smoking seems to shrink parts of your brain that help you think and remember things. It also raises your risk of dementia, possibly because it’s bad for your blood vessels.

It definitely raises your risk of stroke, which can damage the brain and cause vascular dementia.

Talk to your doctor and get help to quit.

High Blood Pressure

Also called hypertension, it raises your risk of memory problems, including dementia, most likely because it damages the tiny blood vessels in your brain.

It also can lead to other conditions like stroke that cause dementia. People who control their blood pressure with diet, exercise, and medication seem to be able to slow or prevent this brain decline.

Depression and Anxiety

It’s often harder to concentrate or recall things if you’re anxious or depressed.

It is also more likely you may develop dementia, though scientists don’t yet know exactly why that happens.

It is very easy when either depressed or anxious to keep it to yourself, but there are many support systems, therapies and help available so don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor, a counsellor, a good friend and ask for help when you need it.

Head Injury

A hit to the head (traumatic brain injury) can affect short-term memory. You might forget appointments or feel unsure of what you did earlier in the day.

Rest, medicine, and rehab can help you recover, but regular hits to your head from sports such as boxing or football, raises your risk for dementia later in life.

Always go to the hospital if you hit your head and then pass out or have blurry vision, or if you feel dizzy, confused, or nauseous.

Obesity

If your body mass index (BMI) is over 30 in middle age, you have a higher risk for dementia later in life.

Any extra pounds anytime make heart disease more likely, which also sometimes leads to brain decline and memory problems.

You can calculate BMI online with your height and weight and you can improve yours with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Lack of Exercise

Regular exercise lessens the risk of brain decline, memory problems, and dementia. It also seems to improve brain function in those who already have dementia.

You don’t have to go out and run a marathon or take spend hours in the gym. Just get out and garden, walk, swim, or dance for 30 minutes on most days of the week.

Poor Diet

Unhealthy eating can lead to heart disease, which can cause brain issues including memory problems and dementia.

That’s why the heart-healthy Mediterranean-style diet is good for your brain, too. It stresses whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil, and other healthy fats like avocado, and keeps the red meat to a minimum.

Helpful information:

There is no doubt that women may find it harder to learn or remember things when they reach menopause.

if you are suffering from severe hot flushes, or night sweats, then that will also affect your sleep and raise your anxiety and stress levels and that in turn will have a knock on effect on memory.

If you are suffering many menopausal symptoms, including oestrogen dominance, then rebalancing hormones will certainly help.

If you are looking for some natural, nutritional, help them this article will point you in the right direction.

Foods To Boost Your Brain Power

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