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12 Major Signs Of Cognitive Decline You Don’t Want To Ignore

Dementia affects approximately 24 million people1 worldwide and its global prevalence is expected to quadruple by the year 2050. What’s more, almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are female. Arguably, taking care of our brains is more critical today than ever before (especially for women).

Risk factors for cognitive decline.

There are many factors–both genetic and epigenetic–that can increase your risk of developing dementia, including:

APOE gene variationDown syndromeType 2 diabetesDepressionHigh blood pressureMidlife obesitySmokingLack of mental activityLack of physical activityUnhealthy dietPoor sleep healthInsufficient vitamin D levels
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12 serious signs of cognitive decline.

If you’re worried about your or your loved one’s brain longevity, keep an eye out for these signs of MCI and dementia.

Forgetting recent events: While losing your keys, blanking on the name of a restaurant you love, or struggling to remember the title of a book you recently read is normal for people in all stages of life, forgetting about an event that happened in the recent past is cause for concernRepetitive questioning: Asking you the same questions, especially within the same conversationDifficulty planning or problem-solving: Struggling to complete familiar tasks–such as paying bills, using your cell phone, or making a recipe you’ve used for yearsConfusing times and places: Losing track of dates (beyond the normal “oh my goodness, how is it Friday already?!”) and/or trouble remembering or understanding an event coming upLack of visual and spatial awareness: Misjudging distance, struggling to keep your balance, tripping, or dropping or spilling things more than usualMixing up or struggling to remember common words: Difficulty following and participating in conversations or recalling familiar words (such as “clock,” “stove,” or “hat”)Misplacing items & finding them in random places: Think putting your car keys in the freezer or your reading glasses in the microwavePoor judgment or discernment: Falling for scams, struggling to manage money, or having difficulty taking care of a pet properlyWithdrawing from social activities: Not wanting to attend church, work, sports games, or other highly social events due to lack of interest or difficulty keeping up with what’s happening around youDistinct changes in mood or personality: Getting easily irritated or upset by things that are common and familiar, or being fearful or suspicious of people or activitiesGetting lost in familiar places: Struggling to navigate places you frequently visit (and have for years)–such as the post office, grocery store, pharmacy, or your neighborhood Having trouble taking care of yourself: Finding it difficult to maintain proper hygiene or a healthy diet
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How to maintain cognitive function & brain longevity.

There are things you can do to help prevent cognitive decline, but the sooner you implement brain-healthy habits the better! Once dementia reaches a certain stage, it can progress quickly, making intervention less effective.

Here are some healthy habits to incorporate into your daily routine to bolster cognitive well-being:

Visit your doctor regularly to monitor changes in your brain healthTake a high-quality memory supplement with science-backed ingredients (such as citicoline–a nootropic bioactive that has been shown to improve cognitive impairment)Maintain a healthy body compositionManage your blood pressure & blood sugar levelsEngage in physical activity on a regular basisEat a balanced, nutrient-dense diet full of brain-healthy foodsGet adequate, restful sleepStay socially active–find purpose in community events and activitiesAvoid smoking
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The takeaway.

Cognitive decline can be confusing, overwhelming, and downright scary for all those involved. If a loved one is showing signs of MCI or dementia, encourage them to see a health care provider as soon as possible–getting checked early on can make a world of difference in progression and treatment options.

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