Why do People Lose Memory With Age and How to Avoid It?

Why do People Lose Memory With Age and How to Avoid It?

More than 50 million people suffer from mental disorders, including memory impairments. Scientists do not yet reliably know why memory worsens with age, but they have several suggestions on how to reduce this risk. What types of memory loss exist?

There are three main ones: cognitive decline during aging, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia. In general, they are similar, but there are important differences.

Decreased cognitive abilities during aging

Absolutely normal. With age, all cells of the human body wear out, including neurons. So minor memory problems for older people are natural.

Mild cognitive impairment

This is a cross between cognitive decline and dementia. People suffering from them forget many things, but can still function independently.

Dementia

This is a syndrome in which a person loses memory, cognitive abilities and the a

bility to perform daily activities. People with dementia also experience vision problems, spatial orientation, and language skills.

At a late stage, they can forget relatives and friends, become aggressive for no apparent reason, they may have paranoia and difficulty in moving. The most common form of dementia (60–70% of cases) is Alzheimer's disease.

There is no exact evidence of where dementia comes from. In the case of Alzheimer's disease, amyloid and tau proteins in the brain accumulate and weave into tangles, interfering with communication between neurons. Because of this, the behavior and thinking of patients begin to change.

It is believed that the first parts of the brain that are responsible for memory are damaged, and then some of parts else. Gradually, a person loses the ability to take care of himself, to talk and move, and in the end — to breathe and swallow.

Who is prone to dementia and memory loss?

The main risk factor is age. About half of people over 85 suffer from some form of dementia. Other factors include cases of dementia in the family (the more there were, the greater the chance that you will have it too) and the presence of mental disorders like depression.

Avoiding memory impairment?

Currently, there are no ways to reliably resist the development of cognitive impairment. But you can delay their appearance.

Maintain physical activity

Studies show that exercise does not help much in preserving memory, but improves other cognitive abilities, in particular, the ability to plan. They are useful and in general — especially to maintain the ability to move.

Keep track of pressure

A recent study of more than 9,000 people with hypertension showed that lowering blood pressure to normal levels (120/80 mmHg) reduces the risk of mild cognitive impairment by more than 20%, and dementia by 16%. Scientists also found that normalizing blood pressure greatly reduces the risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease.

Chat with other people

The most promising way to minimize the risk of dementia today is social interaction. In one study, older people, some of whom suffered from mild cognitive impairment, each day spent 30 minutes of video chatting with specially trained interviewers.

As a result, the people improved many mental abilities, for example, fluency of speech and speed of reaction. Improvements have shown even those suffering from mild cognitive impairment.

The social exclusion increases the risk of dementia by 2%. Scientists suggest that even periodic communication with relatives via video chat can reduce this effect.