What can I do to preserve my memory?
Our memory can be increased, or kept at its current level, through various logic, language and board games, memory devices, mental arithmetic, crossword puzzles, etc. The maintenance of a healthy brain through the supply of the appropriate amount of oxygen and nutrition, a balanced vitamin rich diet, regular exercise, sufficient rest, sleep, stress management and the avoidance of alcohol, drugs and cigarette smoking all help preserve our memory sharp.
Are there foods that would keep my memory sharp?
They say that what is good for the brain is also good for the heart. The good effects of green tea, fruits with hard shells (hazelnut, walnut, almonds), fish oils, generally the polyunsaturated fatty acids, chocolate, legumes such as soy and green beans, dark green vegetables such as spinach, salad and broccoli are usually emphasized. As for vitamins, E and D are especially important in maintaining our brain cells healthy.
We all are forgetful at times. When should I consult a doctor?
Do not let yourself worry about every little incidence of forgetfulness and/or distraction. This can happen to anyone. The decreased ability to concentrate can be due to stress, general tiredness and depression but, it is also a fact that each year, after a certain age, we do lose some of our total brain mass. As far as old age memory disorders goes, there are several types other than Alzheimer’s disease, although, that is the most serious.
If you notice signs of memory loss that cannot be explained by the usual distractions of a stressful life style but are signs of a developing disorder, it would be best to have your problem diagnosed by a specialist as soon as possible. If, for instance, the problem is Alzheimer’s disease, timely treatment by a professional might significantly decrease your symptoms. The earlier it is diagnosed, the better the chance of proper maintenance, allowing you to continue living under the conditions you are used to and be part of your family longer.
Where should I go for examination if Alzheimer’s disease is suspected?
Firstly, a complete detailed physical examination should be performed with laboratory tests and evaluation of your circulatory system since memory disorders may have several causes such as vitamin or nutrition or thyroid deficiency. If these can be ruled out, then neurological (CT, MRI) as well as psychiatric examinations should follow.
How is a memory disorder examined?
Several tests are available for examining short or long-term memory and various cognitive functions. Such is the clock draw test used in the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. In this test, the patient is asked to draw a clock by hand on a large piece of paper, then draw the face of a clock, put the numbers in the correct positions and then draw the hands to indicate a specific time. The test requires only a few minutes but, to the specialist, it provides much information about how the patient approaches the task, does he or she understand what is expected, how the numbers are drawn and the size, was he or she able to draw the hour and minute hands, etc.
What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?
In addition to the usual old age forgetfulness, a wider range of memory disorders appear. The person’s thinking, paying attention, concentration, learning, expression, communication and judgment abilities all deteriorate quickly. Sudden mood changes, loss of interest, orientation and initiative as well as changes in personality (becoming more morose, moody, perhaps even aggressive) may be noted and, in the later stages, may be unable to care for themselves.
Is Alzheimer’s disease on the increase or do we talk about it more?
On the one hand, diagnostics has improved and families have become more knowledgeable in recognizing the characteristic symptoms of the disease causing them to more readily consult a doctor and, on the other hand, the higher average age and the ageing population increases the number of cases. Since the disease typically begins above the age of 65 years, the increased age may result in the doubling of the disease every five years.