Can’t find your keys? Don’t remember why you walked into a certain room? Forgot about an appointment?
These can all be normal, but if you have noticed these kinds of mishaps happening more and more regularly, and more of an impact on your daily life, then it could be memory loss.
Even if you don’t experience these kinds of scenarios yet, you may want to take preventative action against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
These conditions are on the rise, with the current healthcare costs for more than 50 million people with Alzheimer’s disease at $818 million(1). These numbers are also predicted to rise.
So how do you know if you’re at risk of memory loss? There are some surprising risk factors, so let’s go through them.
1. Being female
This is, of course, an uncontrollable risk factor, but women are indeed at higher risk of developing memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. Women actually make up two-thirds of the total population with Alzheimer’s disease. (2)
2. Having type II diabetes
Research has shown that those with type II diabetes are at higher risk of developing memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. (3)
3. Having a traumatic brain injury
If you have a history of traumatic brain injury, this understandably puts you at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, as well as memory loss in general. (4)
4. Having depression
Mental health affects cognitive health, and memory loss actually is itself one of the possible symptoms that those with depression can experience. (5)
5. Having a hormonal imbalance
A hormonal imbalance can increase your risk of memory loss. (6) This could be an imbalance of your thyroid hormone, your insulin levels, your mood hormones (serotonin and dopamine), or your sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone).
6. Not having enough B vitamins
A deficiency of B vitamins can elevate your homocysteine levels, which increases your risk of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. (7)
7. Deteriorating oral health
Yes, you read that correctly. The health of your mouth and teeth can have an impact on your memory. In fact, animal studies have shown that a decrease in chewing causes memory loss and degeneration of nerve cells. (8)
8. Sedentary lifestyle
What is a sedentary lifestyle? If you find yourself seated at a desk for most of the day and make no point of exercising, then you are living a sedentary lifestyle. Research has shown that exercise is one of the most important factors for brain health (9).
It has become clear that in order to have a healthy memory, good overall health is important.
You can decrease your risk of memory loss by keeping diabetes under control, managing your mental health, maintaining balanced hormone levels, ensuring you have enough B vitamins, taking care of your mouth and teeth, and exercise daily.
And finally, don’t be this guy!
Two couples were enjoying friendly conversation when one of the men asked the other, “Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to last month?”
“Outstanding,” Fred replied. “They taught us all the latest psychological techniques – visualization, association – it has made a big difference for me.“
“That’s great! What was the name of that clinic?”
Fred went blank. He thought and thought but couldn’t remember. Then a smile broke across his face and he asked, “What do you call that flower with the long stem and thorns?”
“You mean a rose?”
“Yes, that’s it!” Then he turned to his wife and asked, “Rose, what was the name of that clinic?“