Definitely signs that your brain isn’t as strong as it should be

Is it normal brain aging or dementia? While our brain we shrink as we grow older, it is important to know what is typical and what could be a sign of something more serious. “Basically, mild cognitive impairment is when someone has clear symptoms that show changes in their memory or thinking, but the changes don’t affect their ability to do their daily activities.” says neurologist Carolyn Fredericks, MD. “That’s what distinguishes it from dementia.” Here are five surefire signs that your brain isn’t as strong as it should be, according to doctors. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss them Sure signs you already had COVID.

1

Constant struggles with memory and knowledge

Close up of mature woman looking into distance thinking.

Close up of mature woman looking into distance thinking.

Frequent memory problems can be a sign of cognitive decline. “It’s common for any of us to end up in our kitchen with no idea why we’re there, or bump into someone at the grocery store and forget their name.” Dr. Fredericks says. “But when it starts happening repeatedly and on a daily basis, that’s when you start to worry about it.”

2

Hearing loss

Side view of senior man with symptom of hearing loss.  Mature man sitting on sofa with fingers near ear suffering pain.

Side view of senior man with symptom of hearing loss. Mature man sitting on sofa with fingers near ear suffering pain.

Studies show that even mild hearing loss can double the risk of dementia. “Our brain scans show that hearing loss can contribute to a faster rate of atrophy in the brain.” says Frank Lin, MD, PhD. “Hearing loss also contributes to social isolation. You may not want to be around people as much, and when you are you may not engage in conversation as much. These factors may contribute to dementia.”

3

Type 2 diabetes

Senior woman checking her blood glucose level.

Senior woman checking her blood glucose level.

There is strong evidence that type 2 diabetes can lead to accelerated brain aging. “Our findings suggest that type 2 diabetes and its progression may be associated with accelerated brain aging, possibly due to reduced energy availability causing significant changes in brain structure and function.” says Lilianne Mujica-Parodi, PhD, Director of the Computational Neurodiagnostic Laboratory, Stony Brook University. “By the time diabetes is officially diagnosed, this damage may have already occurred. But brain imaging could provide a clinically valuable metric to identify and monitor these diabetes-related neurocognitive effects. The results they highlight to us the need for research into brain-based biomarkers for type 2 diabetes and treatment strategies that specifically target its neurocognitive effects.”

4

Alcohol abuse

drinking alcohol

drinking alcohol

Alcohol abuse can lead to a condition called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a disorder also known as “wet brain.” “Thiamine (vitamin B1) is an essential nutrient used by all parts of the body and can only be obtained through diet.” says Leah Miller, MHC. “Thiamine deficiency can cause damage to the brain, nerves, and heart. In the United States, alcohol abuse is the leading cause of thiamine deficiency, and consequently the development of WKS.”

5

COVID-19 and the brain

Portrait of doctor with face mask and clipboard looking at camera in hospital.

Portrait of doctor with face mask and clipboard looking at camera in hospital.

Research shows that COVID-19 can cause brain fog similar to what doctors refer to as “chemobrain.” “We found that even mild COVID can cause overt inflammation in the brain that dysregulates brain cells and is expected to contribute to cognitive decline.” says Michelle Monje, MD, PhD, professor of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. “The exciting message is that because the pathophysiology is so similar, the past two decades in research related to cancer treatment can guide us to treatments that may help clear the brain fog of COVID.” ONEAnd to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of them 35 places you’re most likely to catch COVID.

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