Memory loss is a mysterious condition that got scientists thinking of the possible causes and treatments. Do you know what causes Alzheimer’s disease and dementia? Is there a cure for these conditions? Natural prevention maybe? You probably take some sort of medication, and believe it or not, it may increase your risk of being diagnosed with these diseases.
Scientists have found that common prescription drugs can lead to memory loss. In this article we give you more info on this topic, so try to read it and prevent brain diseases.
Alzheimer’s disease is really common
Alzheimer’s disease is usually associated with memory loss, and that’s exactly the first and most common symptom. It’s a progressive and irreversible brain disorder that affects elderly. Alzheimer’s disease is caused by multiple factors, including genes, eating habits, lifestyle choices, etc.
Experts at Alzheimers.net explain there are 44 million people diagnose with this disease or a related dementia. Around 5,700,000 are American. Health experts expect this number to grow as high as 16 million by 2050. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the US, and it’s the only one in the top 10 diseases that cannot be prevented, treated or slowed down.
10 warning signs and symptoms of dementia
The Alzheimer’s Association has offered a list of signs and symptoms of the disease:
- Memory loss
- Inability to plan or find solutions
- Inability to complete simple tasks
- Confussion (dates, time, places)
- Becoming unable to understand spatial relationships and visuals
- Trouble speaking or writing
- Inability to retrace steps and forgetting things
- Poor judgement
- Becoming less social
- Mood swings and personality changes
General dementia is the most common form of dementia and it’s a progressive syndrome that affects cognitive function or your ability to behave properly. Sufferers are unable to think, reason, remember or do anything properly. Many of its symptoms are similar to the ones common in those dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.
There are 10 million new cases each year, and around 50 million people in the world live with the condition. Data from the World Health Organization suggests that this number will go up, and there will be 82,000,000 sufferers by 2030.
These numbers are terrifying, but you can actually reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Sadly, those who take medication on a daily basis can’t really achieve great results because drugs actually make the situation even worse.
Benadryl and other common drugs are related to dementia
In March 2015, a group of researchers released a prospective cohort study in JAMA Internal Medicine. “Cumulative Use of Strong Anticholinergics and Incident Dementia” is a long-term study conducted in order to determine the link between drugs and dementia. The University of Washington and Seattle healthcare system, Group Health, tracked 3,434 men and women aged 65 and older. It’s interesting to note that these individuals had no dementia at the beginning of the study.
Researchers checked participants’ history of drug use for the previous ten years, and they focused on both over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Within a 7-year time frame, researchers checked up on participants every two years. 797 participants developed dementia during that period of time and 637 had Alzheimer’s disease.
According to researchers, anticholinergic drugs are the primary suspect. Most of the participants took tricyclic antidepressants, first-generation antihistamines and bladder antimuscarinics. When compared to those who never use anticholinergic drugs, those who took them for at least three years had 54% more chances to develop dementia.
These drugs are prescribe for health problems such as urinary incontinence, Parkinson’s disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). The main purpose of these drugs is to block acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that makes the muscles contract, triggers pain responses and controls endocrine and REM sleep functions.
Aging affects the production of acetylcholine. There are many acetylcholine-producing cells in the brain, and Harvard editor Beverly Merz says, “blocking its effects can deliver a double whammy to older people.”
Take care of your brain and avoid anticholinergic drugs. This study outlines only a smart portion of drugs. Consult your doctor before you get off prescription drugs.
Memory loss isn’t necessarily Alzheimer’s disease
There are reversible dementias and people can treat and overcome the condition.
It’s similar to dementia, but the mental changes that occur in delirium happen within a few days. People with dementia maintain their consciousness, and those with delirium don’t.
Depressed individuals experience moments of forgetfulness and disorientation. What’s the difference between depression and dementia? The timeline. Depressed people experience memory loss after they become depressed, and those with dementia become depressed after their experience a decline in their cognitive function.
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
The lack of vitamin B12 may cause a pernicious anemia, a rare condition related to confusion, slowness, apathy and irritability. If you notice any of the symptoms, consult your doctor to determine your body gets enough vitamin B12.
- Thyroid disease
Hypothyroidism causes exhibit dementia-like symptoms. Have a thyroid hormone blood test to find the best treatment for your condition.
Alcoholics sometimes deal with confusion and amnesia, and this is oftentimes confused with Alzheimer’s disease. Alcoholism affects your ability to remember things and orientate yourself, but abstinence and overcoming actually reverses dementia.
Treat your memory problem
Having memory issues doesn’t necessarily mean that you have dementia. This should come as a relief. If your memory problem gets worse, here’s what you should do.
First, consult your doctor, and talk about your symptoms. Your doctor will point you in the right direction.
Second, do blood tests to make sure your symptoms aren’t caused by hormone imbalances or nutritional deficiencies. Some prescription drugs cause cognitive lapses, so consult your doctor about the drugs you are using.
Third, go through your eating and lifestyle choices. Cut out sugar, add more healthy fats to your menu, and workout more often. You may find it hard to do, but sticking to healthy routines is actually beneficial for you.
Fourth, add healthy supplements to your diet. Scientists suggest that you try ashwagandha, turmeric, gingko biloba, and coconut oil.
This may be a lot of information for you, but dementia is a terrible condition and you have to do your best to reduce your risk of developing it. Let’s reduce that number, and take more care of our brain. That’s the only way to lower the rates of dementia-related deaths.